Celebrated Novelist Philip Roth Dies at 85

Celebrated Novelist Philip Roth Dies at 85

So revered was Roth that he won two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize.

Author Philip Roth, who was both hailed and derided for laying bare the neuroses and obsessions that haunted the modern Jewish-American experience, has died at the age of 85.

His works explored his perception of America and American themes.

Roth said he believed he first became a writer in college.

"The Humbling" (2015) RottenTomatoes: 50 percent; IMDb: 5.6 Al Pacino plays an addled actor who has an affair with a lesbian in a story based on Roth's 2009 novel. "Improbably, I had the honor of meeting Philip Roth just a few months ago to discuss an adaptation of Plot Against America", wrote Simon. One of his recurring protagonists, Nathan Zuckerman, is a novelist whose own writings have similarly upset many Jews.

Yet he was frequently annoyed and amused by readers' desire to project the real Roth onto his characters.

"It's not a question that interests me". Of America as my Jewish grandparents knew it.

Born in Newark, New Jersey - a state that would appear often as a setting in his fiction - Roth grew up in a Jewish, middle-class family and attended Rutgers University before transferring to Bucknell University and a stint in the U.S. Army. He would recall the hostile reception at a symposium at New York's Yeshiva University in 1962 as the "most bruising public exchange of my life". He got his master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1955. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal at a 2011 ceremony in the White House. According to Irving Howe, the scholar Roth skewered in "The Anatomy Lesson", Jewish literature in the suburbs was the end of Jewish literature. After his flirtation with celebrity he moved to rural CT, where he lived alone for many years after his divorce from the actress Claire Bloom in 1994.

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The second in his set of "apprentice work", When She Was Good, which followed his debut by five years, was published in 1967.

He stirred Jewish ire again in 1969 for 'Portnoy's Complaint, ' his friend and editor Aaron Ascher recalling that "the attacks were awful and disheartening, especially from the Jews", adding: "It made him angry and defensive, so he closed up, but maybe it did him good". His more recent books included 2001's "The Dying Animal" and "The Human Stain", published in 2000 and released in 2003 as a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman.

Ambitious and unusual, The Plot Against America tells an alternate version of 20th century history in which aviator and anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh wins the Republican nomination for USA president for the 1940 election and defeats Franklin Roosevelt.

His impact on American literature began in the 60s when he joined fellow Jews Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamudin in shaking attitudes and pre-conceptions.

Roth was considered a hard interview subject and told the Guardian he disliked discussing his books. It's filled with fear and loneliness and anxiety - and I never needed religion to save me'.

'You can not observe people through an ideology.

'I don't ask writers about their work habits.

The book topped The New York Times best-seller list for the year and turned its reclusive author into a celebrity - an uncomfortable position that he would later satirize in novels like Zuckerman Unbound (1981) and Operation Shylock (1993).

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