Writer Philip Roth, Dead at 85
Prolific, controversial, and award-winning author Philip Roth has died at age 85.
Philip Roth, a fearless novelist who wrote about Jewish life and male sexual identity, died Tuesday night at a hospital in New York.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author was 85.
Roth died of congestive heart failure surrounded by close friends and family, his friend Judith Thurman said. Visitors in his final days came from all walks of life, from writers and lifelong friends to people he helped and inspired along the way.
“He was an incredibly generous person. Always very exigent, and he held you to a very high standard — and he held himself to an even higher standard,” Thurman said. “He was, in my opinion, a very great writer and a very great man.”
Roth was one of America’s most prolific and controversial 20th-century novelists, with a career that spanned decades and more than two dozen books. In addition to a Pulitzer for fiction writing, he won other top literary honors, including National Book Awards and PEN/Faulkner Awards.
“From the beginning of his long and celebrated career, Philip Roth’s fiction has often explored the human need to demolish, to challenge, to oppose, to pull apart,” the Pulitzer committee said when it awarded him the prize two decades ago for “American Pastoral.”
Reaction, indicitive of the varying opinions on the man and his work in life, are just as strong with news of his death.
The freshman table in Heaven is gonna be lit. Bernard Lewis, Richard Pipes, Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth having a cocktail, with Mike Potemra unofficially moderating the discussion.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) May 23, 2018
Improbably, I had the honor of meeting Philip Roth just a few months ago to discuss an adaptation of Plot Against America. At 85, he was more precise and insightful, more intellectually adept and downright witty than most any person of any age. What a marvelous, rigorous mind.
— David Simon (@AoDespair) May 23, 2018
I have a friend who's a deep student of literature (Ph.D.). She loves Philip Roth. For years, she left one of his novels unread — just so she could have a new one when she really wanted or needed it. I thought that was an amazing tribute to a writer.
— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) May 23, 2018
Hi you can eulogize Philip Roth and still point out the deeply misogynist sense of male sexual entitlement that runs through the vast majority of his writings, you can do it I believe in you.
— Colin Dickey (@colindickey) May 23, 2018
Philip Roth last emailed me on April 16th. Keen to let us know about a small forthcoming book he was afraid would otherwise not get its due attention: “I think it’s marvelous, excellently written, inventingly told, full of intelligence, funny, often with a novelistic flair.“
— Pamela Paul (@PamelaPaulNYT) May 23, 2018
I’m certain there will be a spike in sales of Philip Roth books. The real question is what butcher shops will report about the sales of liver.
— jelani cobb (@jelani9) May 23, 2018
Great Philip Roth quote: “After Moses, the next great Jewish genius was Irving Berlin. He took Easter, took the blood out of it, and made it about fashion. He took Christmas, took Christ out of it, and made it about the weather."
— jon ronson (@jonronson) May 23, 2018
"As a writer, I must be free to have a perspective larger, deeper, darker than that of a son, a husband, a relative or a friend" Philip Roth on Arena in 1993. pic.twitter.com/033GD2lMEX
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) May 23, 2018
By 35, you should have read enough Philip Roth to know that it’s only going to get worse
— Matthew Schneier (@MatthewSchneier) May 23, 2018
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