Jews, Jersey, and America: Philip Roth Reconsidered


Beginning with the publication of his debut Goodbye, Columbus in 1959, Philip Roth remained a highly visible, and at times highly controversial presence on the American literary scene. Questions of Jewish American identity; the power struggle between fathers and sons; the irrationality of male sexual desire; the consequences of exercising one's (artistic, sexual, personal) freedom; the tumultuous history of Newark; the nature of the American experiment-these are the central concerns that percolate throughout his thirty-one books. In this course, we will read Roth's major novels and explore how his fiction addressed these questions. Moreover, we will discuss how we can approach Roth's fiction in the wake of such events as the Trump presidency, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the #Me Too Movement. How do we read Roth in the wake of the political and social traumas that have shaped our recent history? How does Roth's fiction speak to the recent rise in anti-Semitism? To help inform these questions, we will also consider how contemporary writers, such as Nicole Krauss and Taffy Brodesser-Akner, have directly reconsidered Roth's legacy in their fiction, rethinking his treatment on such topics as Jewish-American identity, sexual politics, and the status of the novel. This course satisfies the Writing Intensive requirement.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS WI I; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Jews, Jersey, and America: Philip Roth Reconsidered
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