This title contains an excellent account and reflection on each diverse stage of Philip Roth's fifty-year career. Fifty years into Philip Roth's career, agreement has not yet been reached on the nature of his achievement. Is he the post-war Jewish-American writer par excellence, or a hyphenless American, commentator of American experience? Is he the faithful defender of the realist tradition, a citizen of the world, or the playful postmodernist? "The Major Phases of Philip Roth" confronts his remarkable diversity by accounting for each stage of Rothian preoccupation, from the comedy and seriousness to the Judaism and psychoanalysis. This refreshing study is not intent on locating a single unifying theme. Featuring fresh readings of now-canonical texts and a new telling of post-war American cultural narratives, David Gooblar reveals the changing face of liberalism, the rise of the New York Intellectuals and the legacies of the Holocaust.
By accounting for Roth's multiplicity, his alternation between opposing modes and his stubborn commitment to counter-intuition, Gooblar explains what it is that makes Roth so rewarding, so central to post-war American literary cultural narratives and so reflective of America itself.
David Gooblar is an external tutor at Jesus and Robinson Colleges, University of Cambridge, UK.
Introduction; Timeline; 1. The New York Intellectuals: Goodbye, Columbus; 2. The Idea of Seriousness: Portnoy's Complaint; 3. Franz Kafka, Anne Frank, and Roth's Personal Culture: After Portnoy I; 4. The Freudian Lock: After Portnoy II; 5. Non-Fiction Writings; 6. The American Experience: American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain; Biography; Index.