Philip Roth

United States
Born on 19 Mar 1933
Writer

Texts

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The Task of an Artist (1)

As an artist the nuance is your task. Your task is not to simplify. Even should you choose to write in the simplest way, a la Hemingway, the task remains to impart the nuance, to elucidate the compli...
I Married a Communist

Talking All the Time (2)

What had happened in these ten years for there suddenly be so much to say — so much so pressing that it couldn’t wait to be said? Everywhere I walked, somebody was approaching me talking on a phone a...
Exit Ghost

The Violence of the New Generations (3)

We're the sons appalled by violence, with no capacity for inflicting physical pain, useless at beating and clubbing, unfit to pulverize even the most deserving enemy, though not necessarily without t...
Patrimony

Our Ocean of Details (4)

Am I mistaken to think that even back then, in the vivid present, the fullness of life stirred our emotions to an extraordinary extent? Has anywhere since so engrossed you in its ocean of details? Th...
American Pastoral

Life is not a Narrative (5)

Things don't have to reach a peak. They can just go on. You do want to make a narrative out of it, with progress and momentum and dramatic peaks and then a resolution. You seem to see life as having ...
Portnoy's Complaint

The Tactless Severity of Vital Male Youth (6)

There it was: the tactless severity of vital male youth, not a single doubt about his coherence, blind with self-confidence and the virtue of knowing what matters most. The ruthless sense of necessit...
Exit Ghost

The Incapacity as a Privilege (7)

In my parents' day and age, it used to be the person who fell short. Now it's the discipline. Reading the classics is too difficult, therefore it's the classics that are to blame. Today the student a...
The Human Stain

I Turn Sentences Around (8)

I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence....
Ghost Writer

Nobody Knows Anything (9)

Because we don't know, do we? Everyone knows… How what happens the way it does? What underlies the anarchy of the train of events, the uncertainties, the mishaps, the disunity, the shocking irregular...
The Human Stain

Denying Ourselves (10)

What was astonishing to him was how people seemed to run out of their own being, run out of whatever the stuff was that made them who they were and, drained of themselves, turn into the sort of peopl...
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays