33 Facts About Philip Roth

1. Philip Roth was honored in his hometown in October 2005 when then-mayor Sharpe James presided over the unveiling of a street sign in Roth's name on the corner of Summit and Keer Avenues where Roth lived for much of his childhood, a setting prominent in The Plot Against America.

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2. Philip Roth published his first full-length novel, Letting Go, in 1962.

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3. Philip Roth graduated from Newark's Weequahic High School in or around 1950.

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4. Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 19, 1933, and grew up at 81 Summit Avenue in the Weequahic neighborhood.

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5. Philip Roth received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth's novels.

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6. Philip Roth became one of the most awarded American writers of his generation.

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7. In 1959, Philip Roth became among the rising stars of American fiction together with the publication of Goodbye, Columbus.

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8. In 1960 Philip Roth wrote, "The American writer in the middle of the twentieth century has his hands full in trying to understand, describe, and then make credible much of American reality.

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9. Philip Roth idolized his mother, who from all accounts was vastly different from Sophie Portnoy, just as his hardworking, devoted father differed from harried, constipated Jack Portnoy, Alex's father.

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10. Philip Roth graduated from Weequahic High School in 1951 and attended Newark College at Rutgers University for a year before transferring to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

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11. Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 19, 1933, and grew up in a section of Newark that was then predominantly middle-class Jewish.

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12. Philip Roth created a character named Nathan Zuckerman that figures prominently in several of his books.

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13. Philip Roth began his literary career shortly after receiving his master's degree in English literature.

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14. In 2012, Philip Roth had mentioned, almost as an aside in a French interview, that Nemesis was going to be his last book.

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15. Philip Roth wrote to Wikipedia to correct the misunderstanding, only to be told by the Wikipedia administrator that he, the author, was not a credible source.

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16. Philip Roth was prescribed Xanax, a high-potency benzodiazepine used in the treatment of panic disorder.

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17. Philip Roth brought a satirical focus on a new world of prosperity opening up for Jews in the suburbs in the 1950s.

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18. Philip Roth delighted in every nuance and absurdity of Jewish life in the US, but his defiantly secular sensibility was without piety or reverence.

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19. Philip Roth made his remarks in a French magazine interview, and his publishers, Houghton Mifflin, on Friday confirmed the writer's decision.

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20. Philip Roth provides an anecdotal journey through five stages of his life: his New Jersey youth; his college days at Bucknell; meeting his wife-to-be while an instructor at the University of Chicago; his early writing days, including the uproar he caused in the Jewish community; and his life in the Sixties.

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21. Philip Roth met novelist Margaret Martinson in 1956 during his teaching days in Chicago and finally married her in 1959.

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22. Philip Roth was the second child and had an elder brother named Sandy.

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23. Philip Roth offers a clever variation on the novel-within-the-novel device as he prefaces the main part of his work, "My True Story", with two of his protagonist's short stories.

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24. Philip Roth holds up the myth of the Great American Novel to the same ridicule as the myth of the Great American Pastime.

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25. Philip Roth gained his initial literary reputation with the short-story collection Good-bye Columbus.

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26. Philip Roth begins by writing a letter to Nathan Zuckerman, hero of The Counterlife and so many of his previous novels, asking him for his candid opinion of the book.

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27. Philip Roth used his experiences in growing up in the Weequahic section of Newark, New Jersey, and his days as a college student in Rutgers and Bucknell as material for many of his works.

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28. In May 2011, Philip Roth was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction on the world stage, the fourth winner of the biennial prize.

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29. Philip Roth was buried at the Bard College Cemetery in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where in 1999 he taught a class.

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30. Philip Roth died at a Manhattan hospital of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018, at the age of 85.

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31. Philip Roth was an atheist who once said, "When the whole world doesn't believe in God, it'll be a great place.

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32. In May 2014, Philip Roth claimed in an interview with Alan Yentob for the BBC that "this is my last appearance on television, my absolutely last appearance on any stage anywhere.

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33. Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 19, 1933, and grew up in its Weequahic neighborhood.

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