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Philip Roth

Geburtstag: 19. März 1933

Philip Milton Roth [ɹɑːθ] ist ein amerikanischer Schriftsteller. Seine Romane, Erzählungen und Essays wurden vielfach ausgezeichnet und brachten ihm den Ruf eines bedeutenden Romanciers der Gegenwart ein, der in der Öffentlichkeit seit Jahren als Kandidat für den Nobelpreis für Literatur gehandelt wird.

Roths Werke sind häufig autobiografisch geprägt. Seine Romanfiguren teilen seine Herkunft aus einer jüdischen Familie der unteren Mittelschicht, seine Geburtsstadt Newark, die späteren Wohnsitze New York City und eine Farm in Connecticut sowie die Erfahrungen seiner beiden Ehen. Nachdem bereits Roths Erstling Goodbye, Columbus im Jahr 1959 eine positive Aufnahme in der Kritik fand, wurde zehn Jahre später der Roman Portnoy’s Complaint zu einem Skandalerfolg. Ab den 1970er Jahren begleitete die Figur Nathan Zuckerman Roths Werk durch zwei Trilogien und mehrere Einzelromane. Im Oktober 2012 gab Roth bekannt, sich vom Schreiben zurückzuziehen.

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„Das Alter ist kein Kampf; es ist ein Massaker.“ Jedermann

„Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.“


„The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open.“ The Dying Animal

„You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion.... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.“ American Pastoral

„He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach - that it makes no sense.“ American Pastoral

„You put too much stock in human intelligence, it doesn't annihilate human nature.“ American Pastoral

„Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up.“ The Dying Animal

„The pleasure isn't in owning the person. The pleasure is this. Having another contender in the room with you.“ The Human Stain


„The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong.“ American Pastoral

„Because that is when you love somebody - when you see them being game in the face of the worst. Not courageous. Not heroic. Just game.“ The Human Stain

„Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.“

„You tasted it. Isn't that enough? Of what do you ever get more than a taste? That's all we're given in life, that's all we're given of life. A taste. There is no more.“ The Dying Animal


„I don’t ask writers about their work habits. I really don’t care. Joyce Carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, they’re actually trying to find out, "Is he as crazy as I am?" I don’t need that question answered.“

„These girls with old gents don't do it despite the age—they're drawn to the age, they do it for the age. Why? In Consuela's case, because the vast difference in age gives her permission to submit, I think. My age and my
status give her, rationally, the license to surrender, and surrendering in bed is a not unpleasant sensation. But simultaneously, to give yourself over intimately to a much, much older man provides this sort of younger woman with authority of a kind she cannot get in a sexual arrangement with a younger man. She gets both the pleasures of submission and the pleasures of mastery.“
The Dying Animal

„No matter how much you know, no matter how much you think, no matter how much you plot and you connive and you plan, you're not superior to sex. It's a very risky game. A man wouldn't have two-thirds of the problems he has if he didn't venture off to get fucked. It's sex that disorders our normally ordered lives.“ The Dying Animal

„You go to someone and you think, 'I'll tell him this.' But why? The impulse is that the telling is going to relieve you. And that's why you feel awful later--you've relieved yourself, and if it truly is tragic and awful, it's not better, it's worse---the exhibitionism inherent to a confession has only made the misery worse.“ American Pastoral

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