Death of Philip Roth, Giant of American literature, at age 85
With “American Pastoral”, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998.
LITERATURE – Literature loses a giant. On the night of May 22-23, 2018, the world learned of the death of 85-year-old Philip Roth, one of America’s greatest historical writers, with a career crowned with a string of awards.
Throughout his life, and since his early successes in the 1960s, Philip Roth has explored many themes including the fanaticism of the Americans for their country and for the political commitments, lust, and excesses of the body of the Man, but also life in Jewish families.
His style was characterized by a dark sense of humor and acapacity to evolve with stories. He has created outstanding characters in literature, such as David Kepesh, this academic who turns into the chest by dint of desire, or Alexander Portnoy, this man entrusting his psychoanalyst his adolescent impulses.
Although he has never won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Philip Roth has received all the best American distinctions: two National Book Awards, as many National Book Critics Circle awards, three times the Faulkner Prize.
More energy to write
After half a century of imagining stories that made him famous around the world, and two years after his latest novel Nemesis, he announced in 2012 that he no longer has the energy to handle the frustration that comes with literary creation.
A decision that he still justified in recent years: “Telling stories, this thing that has been so precious to me throughout my life, is no longer at the heart of my life,” he explained to the French newspaper Libération. “It’s strange, I would never have imagined that such a thing could happen to me”.
His demanding pen and his relentless lucidity on American society have made him a major figure in postwar literature. He is the only living writer whose work has been published by the Library of America. In France, he began to be published in the prestigious La Pléiade collection.
Philip Roth, who lived alone between his home in rural Connecticut (north-east) and his apartment in Manhattan, had nevertheless left his retirement in late January to sweep away any analogy with the accession to power of the billionaire. While Lindbergh was “a great hero” with “substance”, he wrote to the New Yorker, Trump is a president “ignorant of government, history, science, philosophy, art, unable to express or recognize a subtlety or nuance “and using” a vocabulary of 77 words “.
As Vanity Fair tells us, this giant of American literature had made a friendship with Josyane Savigneau, director of the World of Books, and told him that he would like to read the obituary she would write at her death. “You have one more thing to do, my obituary Yes write, have translated, I want to read it Wait, I’ll give you the first sentence … No, I can not find …”