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Almost three years after Phillip Roth’s death, the allegations against the writer return

Almost three years after Phillip Roth’s death, the allegations against the writer return

Two new biographies promise to resume the discussion about the writer’s private life.

Two new biographies of the writer.

He was one of the big names in 20th century North American literature, with works adapted for cinema and television and several prizes, the only one missing of which is a Nobel Prize in Literature. Soon the writer’s past promises to be an issue again.

There are two new biographies on the way where Phillip Roth’s personal life, especially his sex life, comes back to matter. Throughout his career, the writer has consistently been a subject of debate, be it for the portrait of some of his Jewish characters (despite being a Jew himself) or for the way in which subjects such as sex, love, and death were handled constructions.

Roth died on May 22, 2018 at the age of 85, six years after his retirement was announced. These days details of two biographies that are about to be published have become known. The first is titled “Philip Roth: A Counter-Life” and is an unofficial biography of Ira Nadel, who writes that the author was “just as sexually obsessed with sex life in real life as he was in literature.” It arrives on March 29th and it is already possible to book it on Amazon.

On April 6, “Philip Roth: The Biography,” a more than 900-page work by Blake Bailey that promises a more definitive portrait of the author, will be released. Blake Bailey was authorized to access the writer’s archives and conduct several interviews with friends and former lovers.

In the book, the first criticism of which has already surfaced, Baile claims that Roth often went to brothels in London and also speaks of the writer’s preference for younger women.

Sex has always been a recurring theme in his novels. Nathan Zuckerman, a character who appears in various books by the writer, has always been analyzed by the writer’s type of alterego. “The Portnoy Complex”, one of his most talked about books, has been censored in Australia and viewed as a target of anger by the Jewish intellectual community in the US. Even in interviews, the author repeatedly addressed the topics that characterized his writing.

Roth also had a strange relationship with the critic, who both praised him for some of his books and was criticized by the author himself – for Roth, readers should be “alone” with the books without outside intervention. “Readers should be able to struggle with books and find out what they are and what they are not,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

Some of Rtoth’s biggest hits have hit the big screen, cases of “The American Pastoral,” adapted for theaters by Ewan McGregor in 2016, or “The Conspiracy Against America,” adapted by HBO for the 2020 miniseries, and a story in which Roth imagines what the US would have been like her childhood if a Nazi supporter had come to power.

With 31 books published from 1959 to the end of his career, Roth has repeatedly discussed and analyzed it. Incidentally, the allegations of misogyny were one of the issues raised at the time of the writer’s death in 2018.

At this point, however, there is a debate about political and artistic contours that has taken place. It happened recently with Woody Allen and the documentary “Allen v. Farrow ”, which not only ponders the director’s life, but also how his art is a way of reflecting on a more reprehensible side of his personal life.

In the case of Roth, the British tabloid Daily Mail and the American extreme right’s Breitbart website are already suggesting that Roth could even be “canceled” and become a victim of censorship three years after his death.

With Roth, one of the most influential American writers in the last few decades, who has never shown signs of taming his literary drive, this discussion is likely to continue to follow his legacy. Merit of the complexity of the writer.


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