Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Philip Roth

Philip Roth, who surprised so many of us a few weeks ago by announcing that he had written his last novel, turns 80 tomorrow.  As a fan of his writing for more than four decades, I was both shocked and disappointed by his announcement.  He is one of the great ones, and it still feels strange for me not to wonder what is coming next from his pen.

I was reminded of Roth's milestone birthday this morning when I received an announcement from Library of America that their  final two volumes of Roth's work are available.  This brings the Roth collection to nine books totaling more than 7,000 pages, and it places the author in remarkable company.  To date, he is the second most published LOA author, trailing only Henry James's sixteen volumes, and being one ahead of Mark Twain's eight. 

(If you are unfamiliar with Library of America and its mission, please consider purchasing some of their wonderful books.  LOA is a nonprofit publisher and deserves (and really needs) the support of America's book lovers.)

The first video (from 2011) shown below is one of the best Philip Roth interviews I have ever seen, and the second, from CNN, captures a bit of the general shock at Roth's retirement announcement.

 Happy Birthday, Mr. Roth - and thank you.


  1. Enjoyed these interviews. So lovely to see an open dictionary on a desk lying next to a baseball...and so poignant to see a magnifying glass next to it.
    Have you heard the npr interview? Just ran today.

  2. P. S. I totally get his not wanting any more "friction" in his life.
    Just looked at that first interview again. Really...thanks for posting it.

  3. Anonymous, I agree...Roth's desk presents a beautiful image all on its own, a perfect picture, I think, into the man's soul.

    I'm happy you enjoyed the interview...