Legendary US writer Philip Roth dies aged 85

Legendary US writer Philip Roth dies aged 85

Roth's personal life was just as colorful as his professional one.

Philip Roth, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and New Jersey native, died Tuesday according to multiple reports. "If I am not an American, I am nothing", or, as he summarized on anor occasion rejecting Community dimension and highlighting his goal of universality: "I do not write Jew, I write American".

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" as well as "I Married a Communist" (1998) and "The Human Stain" (2000).

Roth's first published book was the 1959 novella and short-story collection "Goodbye, Columbus, ' which won the National Book Award".

In addition to winning almost every literary award for writers in English, Roth was also embraced by the Jewish community over his long career. "If I'm not an American, I'm nothing", said Roth. In 2012, Roth chose to retire from writing. When Roth won the Man Booker International Prize, in 2011, a judge resigned, alleging that the author suffered from terminal solipsism and went "on and on and on about the same subject in nearly every single book".

"I don't want to read any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore". His work evolved through several distinct phases, and often featured Roth's fictional alter egos, including his best-known character, Nathan Zuckerman.

His 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, imagines an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by the pro-Nazi demagogue Charles Lindbergh.

Philip Roth dead The author was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama
GETTYPhilip Roth dead The author was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama

In this March 24, 1960 file photo, the three winners of the National Book Award, Robert Lowell, from left, awarded for the most distinguished book of poetry, Richard Ellmann, victor in the non-fiction category, and Philip Roth, recipient of the award in the fiction category for his book 'Goodbye, Columbus, ' pose at the Astor Hotel in New York City.

Roth, however, did not feel comfortable with his reiterated categorization as a Jewish-American writer.

In The Plot Against America, Roth explores a political alternative history - one in which Franklin D Roosevelt is defeated by "America first" candidate Charles Lindbergh in the 1940 USA election, resulting in growing anti-Semitism and the persecution of the author's Jewish-American family. In 2005, he became only the third living writer to have his books enshrined at the Library of America, he added.

Roth won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his acclaimed novel "American Pastoral".

Roth had a long relationship with British actress Claire Bloom but their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1995. "In my life I have had, in total, a couple of months of these completely wonderful days as a writer, and that is enough".

In one notorious incident, Roth was shaken by a hostile reception he received at a 1962 literary symposium at New York's Yeshiva University.

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