After my last blog (Jan 27, 2018) on a film review of Philip Roth’s novel “The Human Stain”, a subscriber wrote:
“Yikes. That movie sounds terribly depressing. I can’t wait to see it. I will order it now from Netflix.’
Another subscriber wrote, “Philip Roth is a self-hating Jew”. I wrote back, “Understandable”.
HAARETZ, May 26, 2014: (Haaretz is a prominent Israeli newspaper)
No Complaints From Philip Roth as U.S. Jewish Institution Honors Him
NOVELIST ONCE SCORNED AS 'SELF-HATING JEW' IS GIVEN HONORARY DOCTORATE BY JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
Philip Roth, whose early fiction satirizing American Jewish life made him persona non grata among the pillars of the community back in the '60s, has been awarded one of those pillars' highest honor. The Forward reports that New York's Jewish Theological Seminary gave Roth, 81, an honorary doctorate Thursday night.
When he accepted the award, the audience gave the novelist a "sustained standing ovation."
Roth's comedic portraits of overly protective Eastern European immigrant parents, and of the nouveau riche, American-born generation that succeeded them, won him the scorn of many American Jews who considered him a self-hating Jew, one who shamed his people in front of the gentiles. In 1962, he was shaken by the loud, hostile reception he got from students at Yeshiva University during a literary symposium. He vowed to "never write about Jews again." The vow was short-lived.
In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. He is the recipient of the National Book Award, and is often short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
After a tremendously prolific career including some 30 novels, several books of non-fiction and dozens of short stories, Roth announced in 2012 that he was written out and was retiring as an author. After a reading early this month at New York's 92nd Street Y, he said he was through with public appearances, too. But last week it was announced that he will guest on the "Colbert Report" in July.
JTS chancellor Arnold Eisen, a sociologist, told the Forward that Roth was "the greatestsociologist on American Jewish life, without doubt."
“To write novels requires more than I now have of mental vitality, verbal energy, and physical fitness. My chief pleasure comes in reading.” Philip Roth
So I wrote him a letter. (Sent it to his literary agency)
February 1, 2018
Dear Mr. Roth:
Dostoyevsky said, “Truth shines in misfortune”.
Arthur Miller said it in “Death of a Salesman”.
John Cheever said it in the short story “A Pot Gold”.
I am sending you a copy of THE PROVIDER for your reading pleasure.
NEW SUBJECT FOR MY SUBSCRIBERS. Today in the Wall Street Journal, “Life and Arts Section”, I read a long article about literary agents eager for books on FEMALE SOLIDARITY. They want to capitalize on the new wave in the feminist movement. They’re calling them “Me, too!” books. I will send the listed agents a pitch on “Concerning Georgia Stekker” because this novel certainly is a leader in this wave. I will permit a new publication. An interesting turn of events, eh!