Philip Roth: The Biography

Philip Roth: The Biography

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The renowned biographer’s definitive portrait of a literary titan.

Appointed by Philip Roth and granted independence and complete access, Blake Bailey spent years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. The result is an indelible portrait of an American master and of the postwar literary scene.

Bailey shows how Roth emerged from a lower-middle-class Jewish milieu to achieve the heights of literary fame, how his career was nearly derailed by his catastrophic first marriage, and how he championed the work of dissident novelists behind the Iron Curtain. Bailey examines Roth’s rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life, culminating in his almost-twenty-year relationship with actress Claire Bloom, who pilloried Roth in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll's House. Tracing Roth’s path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth’s engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture.

Title:Philip Roth: The Biography
ISBN:9780393240726
Format Type:

    Philip Roth: The Biography Reviews

  • Elyse  Walters

    Given the recent news about the sexual allegations against Biographer Blake Bailey....I’ve chosen not to review this book. ...

  • Ryan

    Philip Roth generated more outrage than any American writer since Henry Miller. The mere mention of his name triggers a multi-channel set of associations. Roth the joker, Roth the sex-fiend; Roth the ...

  • Matt

    At the end of a long and acclaimed career, Philip Roth instructed his biographer that “I don’t want you to rehabilitate me, just make me interesting.” Bailey’s account of Roth’s life is tho...

  • Mary Kearney

    I was saddened and angered when Norton decided not to promote this fine work of non fiction. Due to some claims that Mr. Bailey was sexually inappropriate with two women from his past, his work is now...

  • Stewart Mason

    Earlier this week, WW Norton announced that they were ceasing promotion for and canceling a second printing of Philip Roth’s official biography because his biographer, Blake Bailey, has been credibl...

  • Matthew Wilder

    An apology, please! Is not some form of correction in order? Having demolished Philly’s chances at a trip to Stockholm with her memoir LEAVING A DOLL’S HOUSE, Claire Bloom went on British TV at th...

  • Michael Asen

    First do not be daunted by the 900 pages..it's only 800(the rest being index and notes).If you are a fan of Roth it's indispensible reading and will fit the characters from Roth's life into everything...

  • Sean

    **NB: I haven't finished the book yet. This is not a review. This is a reckoning with Roth, Bailey, and a divided fan-dom.While Philip Roth is one of my favourite writers, I'm well aware that his real...

  • Maher Battuti

    I was lucky to buy this biography before the decision to stop its distribution.The author used the archive of Roth to paint a real life of him with all its good and bad features. He used the words of ...

  • Bill

    Blake Bailey seems not to know that Philip Roth spent several years in the late 1960s teaching at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (now Stony Brook University), in part thanks to Alfred...