I think of my life as one long speech that I've been listening to...how to think, how not to think; how to behave, how not to behave;...the book of my life is a book of voices, reflects Nathan Zuckerman, Philip Roth's alter ego, in I Married a Communist. Looking at Roth's writing life as a ""book of voices,"" Debra Shostak listens in on the conversations that this prominent American novelist has conducted with himself and his times over forty years and twenty-four books. She finds that while Roth frequently shifts perspectives, he repeatedly returns to interrelated questions of cultural history, literary history, and, especially, selfhood. Arguing that Roth's method of composition, like his conception of self, is fundamentally dialogical, Shostak follows the writer from his depictions of embodied, ethnically determined selves to his exploration of indeterminate selves revealed in the public spaces of confession and historical trauma. Shostak demonstrates that for Roth no perspective gains ascendancy over another, nor does he work the various viewpoints toward a synthesis. Instead, his countertexts simply ""talk"" to one another. For this reason Shostak does not treat Roth's canon c
Debra Shostak is a professor of English at the College of Wooster, where she teaches American literature and film. Her essays have appeared in Contemporary Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Twentieth Century Literature, Critique, Shofar, and Arizona Quarterly, as well as in several edited collections. Shostak lives in Wooster, Ohio.