Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Celebrated Novelist Philip Roth Dies at 85

Celebrated Novelist Philip Roth Dies at 85

Roth's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said that the author died in a New York City hospital of congestive heart failure.

"There is a certain amount of poetic justice, an aesthetically satisfying irony, in Philip Roth's beginning his career with a brouhaha at Yeshiva University and ending it with an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary - an honor perhaps more significant than the Nobel Prize that eludes him", Michael Kramer, associate professor of literature at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, wrote in an email to JTA in 2014.

He added that Roth "has done more than anyone to further the literary exploration of the Holocaust, in his own writings, and by promoting great works and writers throughout the world".

"Never created an uncomplicated hero, and we wouldn't have had it any other way".

After his 2010 novel, Nemesis, Philip went back and reread over everything he had ever written.

Eight of Roth's novels have been adapted into movies, including the 2016 drama "Indignation" starring Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon, and "American Pastoral" starring Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Uzo Aduba.

The author of some two dozen novels, his titanic literary stature was rooted in the universality of his message.

Although Goodbye, Columbus won the National Book Award, older Jewish leaders objected to its portrayal of a conflict between a stuck-up, well-to-do Jewish family in New Jersey and a young working-class Jewish man from Newark.

President Barack Obama right presents a National Humanities Medal to novelist Philip Roth during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Pablo Martinez Monsivais  AP File

The New York Times, citing a close friend, confirmed the death of the writer, who lived in New York and CT. His best known works include Portnoy's Complaint, I Married a Communist, The Human Stain, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral.

Being snubbed for the Nobel every year had "become a joke" for the author, said his friend French writer Josyane Savigneau on Wednesday.

Before announcing his retirement in 2012, he received numerous literary accolades including the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award. He adored his parents, especially his father, an insurance salesman to whom he paid tribute in the memoir Patrimony.

'I decided that I was done with fiction, ' he said at the time. Roth also helped bring a wider readership to the acclaimed Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld.

"I don't want to read any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore". It's enough. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life'.

"He was such a driven perfectionist, so when he felt his power ebbing, he wanted to quit at the top of his game, and he did", CNN quoted her as saying.

The novelist struck a similar tone in an interview with The New York Times in January, calling Trump "a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies" and "devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac".

Philip Roth photographed for LIFE magazine in 1968.

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