Philip Roth: The Biography

Philip Roth: The Biography

by Blake Bailey
Philip Roth: The Biography

Philip Roth: The Biography

by Blake Bailey


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New York Times Bestseller

The renowned biographer’s definitive portrait of a literary titan.

Appointed by Philip Roth and granted independence and complete access, Blake Bailey spent years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. The result is an indelible portrait of an American master and of the postwar literary scene.

Bailey shows how Roth emerged from a lower-middle-class Jewish milieu to achieve the heights of literary fame, how his career was nearly derailed by his catastrophic first marriage, and how he championed the work of dissident novelists behind the Iron Curtain.

Bailey examines Roth’s rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life, culminating in his almost-twenty-year relationship with actress Claire Bloom, who pilloried Roth in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll’s House.

Tracing Roth’s path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth’s engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393240726
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Pages: 912
Sales rank: 428,900
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Blake Bailey is the author of biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians, and a finalist for the Pulitzer and James Tait Black Prizes. His previous book, The Splendid Things We Planned, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part 1 Land Ho! 1933-1956 7

Part 2 Don't Step on the Underdog 1956-1968 113

Part 3 The Moronic Inferno 1968-1975 301

Part 4 Entering a Doll's House 1975-1995 405

Part 5 American Master 1995-2006 579

Part 6 Nemeses 2006-2018 717

Epilogue 799

Acknowledgments 809

Notes 813

Index 863

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