Philip Roth: Fiction and Power

Hardcover | June 25, 2014

byPatrick Hayes

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Philip Roth is widely acknowledged as one of the defining authors in the literature and culture of post-war America. Yet he has long been a polarising figure and throughout his long career he has won the disapproval of an extremely diverse range of public moralists - including, it would seem,the Nobel Prize committee. Far from seeking to make Roth a more palatable writer, Patrick Hayes argues that Roth's interest in transgressing against the "virtue racket", as one of his characters put it, defines his importance. Placing the vehemence and unruliness of human passions at the heart of his writing, Roth is the most subtle exponent of a line of thinking that descends from Nietzsche and which values the arts for their capacity to scrutinise life in an extra-moral way. Philip Roth: Fiction and Power explores thedepth and richness of insight that Roth's fiction thereby generates, and defines what is at stake in his challenge to widely-held assumptions about the ethical value of literature. As well as examining how Roth emerged as a writer and his main lines of influence, it considers his impact on questionsabout the nature and value of tragedy, the relevance of art to life, the relationship between art and the unconscious, the concept of the author, the idea of a literary canon, and how fiction can illuminate America's complex post-war history. It will appeal not only to readers of Americanliterature, but to anyone interested in why literature matters.

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Philip Roth is widely acknowledged as one of the defining authors in the literature and culture of post-war America. Yet he has long been a polarising figure and throughout his long career he has won the disapproval of an extremely diverse range of public moralists - including, it would seem,the Nobel Prize committee. Far from seeking ...

Patrick Hayes teaches literature in English from the eighteenth-century to the present day at St John's College, Oxford. His previous work includes J.M. Coetzee and the Novel (2010).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:June 25, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199689121

ISBN - 13:9780199689125

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Table of Contents

1. Philip Roth and Ethics Talk2. Beginnings, Goodbye, Columbus3. Tragedy, Letting Go, My Life as a Man, Sabbath's Theater4. Experience, Portnoy's Complaint, American Pastoral5. Life as Literature, The Counterlife, Deception, The Humbling6. The Author, The Ghost Writer7. The Unconscious, Operation Shylock, The Plot Against America8. The Canon, The Human Stain