Death of a literary giant: Philip Roth, 1933

Philip Roth: A literary life in seven stages

The president of the Philip Roth Society, Aimee Pozorski, once said of Roth, "From the very beginning of his career, he has been deeply invested in representing the lives and fates of Jewish youth".

Philip Roth, the prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of Portnoy's Complaint to the elegiac lyricism of American Pastoral, died Tuesday night at age 85.

He long managed to sustain his literary output both in terms of quality as well as quantity, as exemplified by his widely admired political trilogy that included "American Pastoral", "I Married a Communist" (1998) and "The Human Stain" (2000).

His first collection of short stories, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), though well received (it won the author his first National Book Award in 1960), was criticized by several powerful rabbis for its portrayal of Jews as morally flawed and materialistic.

In addition to winning almost every literary award for writers in English, Roth was also embraced by the Jewish community over his long career.

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"No one I know of has foreseen an America like the one we live in today", he said.

Roth has written an array of highly acclaimed books in his lifetime till 2012, after which he announced his retirement.

Although Goodbye, Columbus won the National Book Award, older Jewish leaders objected to its portrayal of a conflict between a stuck-up, well-to-do Jewish family in New Jersey and a young working-class Jewish man from Newark.

"I don't want to read any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore". But for Roth the American experience and the Jewish experience were often the same.

"I wanted to imagine how we would have fared, which meant I had first to invent an ominous American government that threatened us".

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"The death of Philip Roth marks, in its way, the end of a cultural era as definitively as the death of Pablo Picasso did in 1973", he wrote.

Roth, who was now living in Manhattan and CT at the time of his death, was arguably the most significant New Jersey-born novelist of the 20th Century and many of his works are considered American classics.

Philip Milton Roth was born on March 19, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey. The newspaper remembered Roth as "a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular".

Roth found fame with the wildly graphic "Portnoy's Complaint" in 1969 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for "American Pastoral".

Roth had a long relationship with British actress Claire Bloom but their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1995.

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The novelist struck a similar tone in an interview with The New York Times in January, calling Trump "a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies" and "devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac". "In my life I have had, in total, a couple of months of these completely wonderful days as a writer, and that is enough".

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