Philip Roth (b.1933)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch30

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Philip Roth (b.1933), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch30

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • Philip Roth (b.1933), relationship between autobiography and fiction - central issue in Philip Roth's books, in his middle and late novels;
  • In Operation Shylock (1993) - for example, a character named Philip Roth, a writer;
  • Roth, publishing his first book, Goodbye Columbus and Five Short Stories - going on to win the National Book Award;
  • title story, contrasting the family of Newark-born narrator Neil Klugman - with the upwardly mobile family of his girlfriend, Radcliffe-educated Brenda Patimkin;
  • Letting Go (1962) and When She Was Good (1967) - the latter, a book set outside Jewish culture;
  • Roth's relationship with English actress Claire Bloom - being married in 1990, and separated in 1993;
  • Portnoy's Complaint, and Roth's next novel, Our Gang - a political satire on Richard Nixon and his administration;
  • first two novels, featuring David Kepesh - Roth publishing The Great American Novel (1973) and My Life as a Man (1974);
  • The Ghost Writer, hailed as a return to form by commentators - who felt that Roth's fiction after Portnoy's Complaint, had been unsuccessful;
  • Zuckerman, a famous author - by the time of Zuckerman Unbound, thanks to his Portnoy-like novel Carnovsky


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography