Philip Roth

Philip Roth : American Pastoral, the Human Stain, the Plot Against America

3.56 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a collection of original essays on Philip Roth offering contemporary critical readings and assessments of recent texts. Philip Roth has without doubt been one of the most important writers of fiction in the United States during the latter part of the twentieth century. "Philip Roth" collects new essays by noted Roth scholars on three essential novels appearing in recent years, "American Pastoral" (1997), "The Human Stain" (2000), and "The Plot Against America" (2004). The volume illuminates Roth's multilayered perceptions of twentieth-century America as a place, a culture, and an idea that shapes its inhabitants in profound ways. Focusing on such topics as ethnicity, gender, race, the family, trauma, history, and narrative form, the essays collected here offer fresh readings of Roth's penetrating explorations of American selfhood. The contributors probe this American Jewish writer's insights into the paradoxes of freedom and self-determination, the politics of identity, especially as defined by racial or ethnic affiliation, and the possibilities available for self-definition and transformation within the context of American history and culture.
This series offers up-to-date guides to the recent work of major contemporary North American authors. Written by leading scholars in the field, each book presents a range of original interpretations of three key texts published since 1990, showing how the same novel may be interpreted in a number of different ways. These informative, accessible volumes will appeal to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, facilitating discussion and supporting close analysis of the most important contemporary American and Canadian fiction.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 17.78mm | 399.16g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 082642631X
  • 9780826426314

Table of contents

Series Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Roth's America; Part 1: American Pastoral; Introduction to Part 1; 2 "What was not supposed to happen had happened and what was supposed to happen had not happened": Subverting History in American Pastoral, David Brauner; 3. The Critique of the Pastoral, Utopia, and the American Dream in American Pastoral, Andrew Gordon; 4. America's Haunted House: The Racial and National Uncanny in American Pastoral, Jennifer Glaser; Part II: The Human Stain; Introduction to Part 2; 5. Race, Recognition, and Responsibility in The Human Stain, Dean Franco; 6. Possessed by the Past: History, Nostalgia, and Language in The Human Stain, Catherine Morley; 7. "The Pointless Meaningfulness of Living": Illuminating The Human Stain through The Scarlet Letter, Gabrielle Seeley and Jeffrey Rubin-Dorsky; Part III: The Plot Against America; Introduction to Part 3; 8. Just Folks Homesteading: Roth's Doubled Plots Against America,Brett Ashley Kaplan; 9. My Life as a Boy: The Plot Against America, Elaine M. Kauvar; 10. Autobiography and History in The Plot Against America, or What Happened When Hitler Came to New Jersey, Timothy Parrish; Collected Notes; Works Cited; Further Reading; Notes on Contributors; Index.
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Review quote

"Debra Shostak's sophisticated, intellectually daring, and graceful new collection of essays on Philip Roth's later work reveals Roth's fiction in a complex and rewarding new light. Positioning Roth not simply as a contemporary American realist, but as a writer deeply aware of his place in intellectual history one that spans nations and time the essays in this collection reveal Roth as nothing if not deeply devoted to the epistemological crises at the heart of the 20th and 21st centuries. Each of the nuanced essays collected here thoughtfully reconsiders Roth's notoriously complex writing to emphasize his vexed representations of the status of identity, of fiction, of culture, and of human otherness during our contemporary social milieu. According to the astute scholars who contributed to this volume, Roth lays bare in his fiction since the 1990s the way ordinary people may be blindsided by the contradictions of the modern American age - the contradiction, for example, between the democratic promise, on the one hand, and institutional practices on the other hand. Collectively, these essays raise important questions about Roth's representations of American ideologies, the meaning of history, and the status of the written word, as well as the effects of these representations on the culture at large. It will inevitably change the way scholars perceive Roth's oeuvre as well as his place in the contemporary American canon."--Sanford Lakoff 'Philip Roth's historical works American Pastoral, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America stand as perhaps the most notable in his oeuvre. In this collection, Debra Shostak shows us the significance of these novels by bringing together an insightful collection of original essays. No other study on these late-period works comes close to capturing what is sure to be seen as Roth's high point as an author. Here is where readers need to begin.'--Sanford Lakoff
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About Debra Shostak

Debra Shostak is Professor of English at The College of Wooster, Ohio. She is author of Philip Roth - Counterlives, Countertexts (2004).
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 23% (7)
4 30% (9)
3 30% (9)
2 13% (4)
1 3% (1)
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