Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Jewish writer malgre lui …

 The Exuberant Joylessness of Philip Roth | commentary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

With the sadness that attended Roth’s retirement from writing in 2012 and his death in 2018 came the realization that his work was never joyful. Funny and witty certainly, vital and intelligent always, and highly entertaining, but never plainly happy in the way a well-matched bride and groom enchant family and guests at their wedding. I was startled to find in the essay quoted above that Irving Howe calls him “an exceedingly joyless writer, even when being very funny.” He saw this before I did.

1 comment:

  1. I recently read Nemesis and certainly the ending, with its deliberate throwing away of a perfectly good life in thrall to the diminishing of an imagined ideal, struck a blow.

    On another note, are there books that resuscitate the spirit of bourgeois, if not the word, from the relentless assault of writers' imaginations? Surely it can't be that bad to want security?