Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding? (The Counterlife)
Philip Roth is one of today’s most controversial and decorated literary heavyweights. His corpus – comprising several novels, short stories, memoirs, and criticism – anatomizes the art of writing, sexuality, the malleability of identity, spiritual malaise, and cultural anomie. Having won just about every major literary prize, Roth was named “America’s Best Novelist” by Time Magazine in 2001, and famed literary critic Harold Bloom includes six of Roth’s novels in his "Western Canon." However, his fiction continues to elicit the ire of Jewish-Americans, gays, and feminists. Steve Martin, delivering the citation for Roth’s 2002 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters observed, “Like three great modern writers he deeply admires, Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, Philip Roth has invented a style by turns obsessive, lyrical, erudite, and of necessity, painfully human.” Below are 10 quotes to celebrate Roth’s 79th birthday.