American literary giant Philip Roth dead at 85

American literary giant Philip Roth dead at 85

Early in his career, Roth drew outrage with sometimes stinging depictions of Jewish life, as well as his graphic portrayal in his breakout 1969 novel Portnoy's Complaint of the protagonist's sexual desires.

Roth, the author of groundbreaking works such as "Portnoy's Complaint", "Goodbye Columbus" and "The Human Stain", died of congestive heart failure, said friend and fellow writer Judith Thurman.

Roth won almost every coveted award for literature in his incredible career, including the Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 work American Pastoral.

Roth was an atheist who swore allegiance to earthly imagination, whether devising pornographic functions for raw liver or indulging romantic fantasies about Anne Frank.

Roth's first book, Goodbye, Columbus is a collection of short stories set in various parts of New Jersey, including the titular novella.

The following year he returned to Chicago to get a Ph.D in English but he dropped our after one term.

Roth, however, often demurred when it was suggested that he should be defined as an American Jewish writer.

His large body of work award Roth numerous prestigious awards and honors, including two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a WH Smith Literary Award and a Man Booker International Prize.

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Roth, who was now living in Manhattan and CT at the time of his death, was arguably the most significant New Jersey-born novelist of the 20th Century and many of his works are considered American classics.

In 2011 Barack Obama presented the National Humanities Medal to Roth during a ceremony at the White House.

Just two years later, in 2012, Roth announced that he was retiring.

His final novel "Nemesis", about a 1944 polio epidemic, came out in 2010. Surely he wasn't regretful: While living on Manhattan's Upper West Side, he spent his retirement reading voraciously (mostly nonfiction), going to concerts, and spending time with friends.

Roth had a long relationship with British actress Claire Bloom but their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1995. He then went back and reread all his works "to see whether I'd wasted my time", he said in a 2014 interview published in the New York Times Book Review.

"I did not want to, did not intend to, and was not able to speak for American Jews; I surely did not deny, and no one questioned the fact, that I spoke to them, and I hope to others as well", Roth wrote in his essay "Writing About Jews". It's enough. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life'. "If I am not an American, I am nothing", or, as he summarized on anor occasion rejecting Community dimension and highlighting his goal of universality: "I do not write Jew, I write American". This would be one of his many influential works that was adapted into a film.

In this September 15, 2010 photo, author Philip Roth poses in NY. He married Margaret Martinson Williams. "The person is a model who then develops into somebody", he said.

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