Philip Roth Dies: Pulitzer Prize Winning 'American Pastoral' Author Was 85


Usually set in his birthplace New Jersey, Philip Roth's fiction was known for its autobiographical nature.

Philip Roth, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and New Jersey native, died Tuesday according to multiple reports.

A prolific essayist, critic and novelist, the 1990s were the height of his productivity, exemplified by his widely admired trilogy - "American Pastoral" (1997), "I Married a Communist" (1998) and "The Human Stain" (2000).

He published his debut collection of short stories, "Goodbye, Columbus", at the age of 26 - a close-to-the-bone look at the materialist values of the Jewish immigrant milieu in which grew up.

"His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally", the chair of the judges of the prize announced at the time.

'I decided that I was done with fiction, ' he said at the time.

His "maleness" offended many readers, with his 1969 book Portnoy's Complaint, about the young, middle-class, sex-obsessed Alexander Portnoy leaving critics happy and elders enraged.

How Philip Roth's Writing Transcended The Narrow Confines Of A Culture Philip Roth, one of the country's most celebrated writers, has died at 85. Recalling being shouted at by hostile students after the event, Roth vowed to "never write about Jews again" - a promise, of course, that he did not keep.

Roth won virtually every literary honour, including the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral, in 1998.

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The news was confirmed by Roth's agent Andrew Wylie.

Roth went on to teach at University of Iowa, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.

'I don't want to read any more of it, write any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore.

"I wanted to imagine how we would have fared, which meant I had first to invent an ominous American government that threatened us".

Ambitious and unusual, The Plot Against America tells an alternate version of 20th century history in which aviator and anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh wins the Republican nomination for United States president for the 1940 election and defeats Franklin Roosevelt.

Gunn shared a photo of the cover of Roth's book The Counterlife on Twitter, writing: "RIP Philip Roth".

Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University who has taught Roth texts for 25 years, said the literary giant understood that "America is given to paroxysms of craziness".

Roth had a long relationship with British actress Claire Bloom but their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1995. "I was by this time no longer in possession of the mental vitality or the physical fitness needed to mount and sustain a large creative attack of any duration", Roth mentioned in a recent interview about his decision.

The topics Roth wrote about included the Jewish experience in America, promiscuous male sexuality, and the hypocrisy and disillusionment of American political life since the 1940s.