Published: Apr 14 2022
Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 144
PAPERBACK: 978-1-64336-310-3
HARDCOVER: 978-1-64336-309-7
EBOOK: 978-1-64336-311-0

Literary Studies
Understanding Contemporary American Literature
Cultural Studies & Sociology
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Understanding Philip Roth

Matthew A. Shipe





A panoramic and accessible guide to one of the most celebrated— and controversial—authors of the twentieth century

With the publication of his debut Goodbye, Columbus in 1959, Philip Roth established himself as one of the most prominent and controversial American writers of his generation. By the time of his death in 2018, he had won the Pulitzer Prize, two National Book Awards, and three PEN/Faulkner Awards. In Understanding Philip Roth, Matthew Shipe offers an in-depth introduction to Roth's work and illuminating and straightforward readings of his major novels.

By emphasizing the connections between the writer's early and late work, Shipe provides a framework for understanding the evolution of Roth's art. Questions of Jewish American identity; the irrationality of male sexual desire; the nature of the American experiment—these are a few of the central concerns that run throughout Roth's thirty-one books. In Understanding Philip Roth, Shipe illustrates how Roth constructed one of the richest bodies of work in American letters, his fiction capturing the absurdities, contradictions, and turmoil that shaped the US in the six decades following the Second World War.

Matthew Shipe, senior lecturer and director of advanced writing in the English Department at Washington University in St. Louis, serves as the president of the Philip Roth Society.

"Never has there been a greater need for a brisk, open-minded exploration as to why Philip Roth matters. A first-rate survey of contemporary American literature's most astute and provocative novelist"—Steven J. Zipperstein, Stanford University

"Matthew Shipe's Understanding Philip Roth pushes our understanding of Roth further, incorporating Roth's personal history with American life and trauma through original and stylized fictions matched by formal inventiveness. With concision, example and detail, Shipe shows how and why it matters."—Ira Nadel, author of Philip Roth: A Counterlife

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