May
24

LTF and Phillip Roth

  Thursday - May 24, 2018 2:49 PM EST

Internet Radio

Excerpt from this day’s program:

…In any case, Roth repeatedly rejected the description of himself as American Jewish novelist and he was absolutely right. He was an American novelist who wrote of Americans of Jewish-ancestry who, like himself, did not live a Jewish life. And in truth he never wrote on Jewish thought.

Versus, say, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who comments on the Five Books. That’s a Jewish writer writing on Jewish thought and values.
Philip Roth wrote of post-War American life via these post-religious Jews and he was right that he was no Jewish writer, and like all such popular novelists will be forgotten for the society he lived in will be no more. His work will not speak to the ages.

Versus the immortal Torah, the Book of Books, which Jews have been reading and re-reading every week for thousands of years.
Roth’s Portnoy was replete with sexual obsession and an awareness of Sigmund Freud, fashionable in this period. The entire book is, after all, nothing but a stand-up comedian’s monologue done lying down on a psychoanalyst’s couch.

It was a book for its time but surely will not speak to the ages, for Roth’s people are those who strayed from left the path of the Jews. This was his audience, Americans like himself of Jewish parentage but not Jews, existentially, like himself…

Northern Israel