Roth, Philip, 1933-
University of Pennsylvania
honorary doctor, 2003
Philip Roth is a writer of stunning originality. In the last ten years alone he published six major works: Operation Shylock (1993); Sabbath’s Theater (1995); American Pastoral (1997); I Married a Communist (1998); The Human Stain (2000) and The Dying Animal (2001). His books have earned him the National Book Critics Circle Award twice, the PEN/Faulkner Award twice; the National Book Award twice; the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union, and the Pulitzer Prize. He received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and the Gold Medal in fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Born in 1933 in Newark, NJ, Philip Roth has lived and worked in Litchfield County, CT since 1971. He holds a BA degree from Bucknell University and an MA in English from the University of Chicago. Mr. Roth has taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa, Princeton, Penn, and Hunter College where he was named a Distinguished Professor of Literature.
In addition to his career as a novelist, Mr. Roth has written satire, short stories, memoirs, autobiographics, critical essays, interviews and served as a general editor for the series, "Writers from the Other Europe." Mr. Roth’s unusually prolific career began with a decade’s worth of work that included Goodbye Columbus (1959) and Portnoy’s Complaint (1969). In the years that followed, he created Nathan Zuckerman, Mickey Sabbath, Swede Levov, and Coleman Silk, characters who already live beyond the books that gave them life.
Philip Roth’s literary reputation is secure, yet he continues to write vividly about the inescapable predicaments of existence while capturing all the human strangeness of life as it is lived. No other contemporary author has so brilliantly depicted, in such compelling detail, the tragic entanglements of history and place in the lives of ordinary Americans. Mr. Roth is an American writer of international importance.