13 Quotes By Philip Roth That Prove His Work Will Live On For Generations To Come
“Life," the late writer Philip Roth wrote in American Pastoral, "is just a short period of time in which you are alive.” Although his own short period came to an end Tuesday night when the Pulitzer Prize-winning author died of congestive heart failure at the age of 85, these quotes by Philip Roth will live on forever, enlightening, challenging, and inspiring readers for generations to come.
The author of bestselling classics American Pastoral and Portnoy's Complaint, Roth was a defining voice in 20th century literature. Between 1959 and his official retirement from writing in 2012, he penned 27 novels, won two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Man Booker International Award, among countless other literary honors. While some of his writing has been criticized for its misogyny and sexism, Roth was nevertheless considered to be one of the America's greatest novelists, and his contributions to the book world are certain worth celebrating.
Up until his death, Roth was a truly remarkable writer, a literary icon, and, not unlike his fans, a ravenous reader. In honor of his remarkable life and his exceptional writing, here are 15 quotes to remember him by:
“Pain is like a baby crying. What it wants it can't name.”
“I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and inhibition and fear.”
“There is truth and then again there is truth. For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they've got you or your neighbor figured out, there really is no bottom to what is not known. The truth about us is endless. As are the lies.”
“The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open. ”
“And as Lindbergh's election couldn't have made clearer to me, the unfolding of the unforeseen was everything. Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as "History," harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”
“Is that what eternity is for, to muck over a lifetime's minutiae? Who could have imagined that one would have forever to remember each moment of life down to its tiniest component?”
“You have a conscience, and a conscience is a valuable attribute, but not if it begins to make you think you were to blame for what is far beyond the scope of your responsibility.”