Philip Roth’s Literary Exodus
Today on Tablet, look at Roth’s decision to call it quits
Did Philip Roth leave clues in his novels that he would be calling his storied career to a close? David Hadar dives into the texts.
But it seems that many years before facing old age, Roth was already fascinated by the idea of looking at his career and knowing that it is over. The first of the Zuckerman books, The Ghost Writer, published in 1979, features Zuckerman as a young aspiring writer. Having published a number of short stories, he visits a potential mentor E. I. Lonoff who is at the height of his career. In retrospect, the older Zuckerman narrating the novel can tell us that not many years later Lonoff would die and not publish anything new for a while before his death. Thus, Zuckerman can assess Lonoff’s entire oeuvre, letting us know that Lonoff’s work was nearly done when they met. The young Zuckerman is witnessing a writer nearing the end of his career and asking whether it was worth the effort.
Check out the whole thing!
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.