Philip Roth

in Newark, New Jersey, The United States
March 19, 1933

May 22, 2018



Philip Milton Roth was 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 include American Pastoral (1997) (winner of the Pulitzer Prize). In May 2011, he won the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction.

Average rating: 3.8 · 331,424 ratings · 23,731 reviews · 141 distinct worksSimilar authors
American Pastoral (The Amer...

3.92 avg rating — 50,757 ratings — published 1997 — 106 editions
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Portnoy's Complaint

3.70 avg rating — 47,232 ratings — published 1969 — 62 editions
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The Plot Against America

3.73 avg rating — 33,222 ratings — published 2004 — 89 editions
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The Human Stain (The Americ...

3.86 avg rating — 28,594 ratings — published 2000 — 86 editions
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Goodbye, Columbus and Five ...

3.86 avg rating — 14,288 ratings — published 1959 — 84 editions
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3.56 avg rating — 14,144 ratings — published 2006 — 81 editions
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3.71 avg rating — 12,244 ratings — published 2008 — 96 editions
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3.77 avg rating — 9,954 ratings — published 2010 — 72 editions
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The Ghost Writer

3.82 avg rating — 8,415 ratings — published 1979 — 54 editions
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Sabbath's Theater

3.84 avg rating — 7,456 ratings — published 1995 — 59 editions
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More books by Philip Roth…
My Life as a Man The Ghost Writer Zuckerman Unbound The Anatomy Lesson The Prague Orgy The Counterlife American Pastoral
(10 books)
3.86 avg rating — 110,862 ratings

American Pastoral I Married a Communist The Human Stain
(3 books)
3.89 avg rating — 84,924 ratings

The Ghost Writer Zuckerman Unbound The Anatomy Lesson The Prague Orgy
(4 books)
3.79 avg rating — 16,545 ratings

“Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.”
Philip Roth

“The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open. ”
Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
tags: love

“You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion. ... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.”
Philip Roth, American Pastoral


June 2016 New School Classic Poll

  41 votes, 18.6%

  36 votes, 16.4%

  23 votes, 10.5%

1955, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, 307 pages
  20 votes, 9.1%

1913, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, 134 pages
  19 votes, 8.6%

1930, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, 267 pages
  18 votes, 8.2%

  13 votes, 5.9%

1995, High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, 334 pages
  11 votes, 5.0%

  9 votes, 4.1%

1997, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, 424 pages
  7 votes, 3.2%

1988, Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, 649 pages
  6 votes, 2.7%

1971, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, 569 pages
  5 votes, 2.3%

1957, The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas, 200 pages
  5 votes, 2.3%

1958, Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, 220 pages
  4 votes, 1.8%

1987, Cities of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif, 627 pages
  3 votes, 1.4%


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