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Reading Myself and Others
by Philip Roth
The interviews, essays and articles collected here span a quarter century of Philip Roth's distinguished career and 'reveal a preoccupation with the relationship between the written and the unwritten world'. Here is Roth on his work and the conroversies it's engendered. Here too are Roth's writings on the Eastern European writers he has championed; and on baseball and Amer ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published 2007 by Vintage
(first published 1975)
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Besides his work on novels, in the first half of his career Philip Roth crossed the globe speaking with famous authors, both contemporary and elder craftsmen. He also wrote criticism for magazines, forwards to books, and was asked to contribute to magazines his opinions on books & authors & writing & book culture. Reading Myself is a collection of such writing. Each is a well-written essay that shows Roth as the thinking man of letters apart from his novels and public persona. Some o ...more
I went full-steam ahead through the first half of this book, where Roth tends to protect his work (and his art) from the short-minded criticism of others and makes some wonderful points about concepts like the difference between writing to be read and writing for an audience. But I quickly lost my steam through Part 2, which comes across mostly as a smattering of various viewpoints that feel very much like padding to offer a full-length collection of nonfiction. The trio of introductions to the ...more
Occasional prose. As with most collections, a mix of good and bad. Unfortunately, this one is heavy on the forgettable part of Roth's career (the early 1970s), moreover, the part that ought to be forgotten. Some standout pieces, however, include "Looking at Kafka," a delightful short story in which Roth imagines Kafka as his Hebrew school teacher in the 1940's, and "Writing American Fiction," a fantastic speech/essay on the competition between fiction and journalism in a crazy, information-delug ...more
“Reading Myself” is not a great book and although well written its arguments on the public intellectual debate are dated to curiosity. The value of the book, like “Shop Talk” and the “nonfiction” memoirs, is the window it gives to the other Roth the writer, the essayist-reporter, the literary critic, the professor, and the man who does consider the lobster.
Some really fantastic thoughts on satire and writing in general. Unfortunately, and I felt that Portnoy's Complaint confirmed this notion, Roth seems entirely consumed by his demons and his demons are his cultural and religious upbringing.
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc ...moreMore about Philip Roth...