Literary Birthday – 19 March – Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born 19 March 1933 and died 22 May 2018.

Philip Roth: 12 Quotes

  1. Sheer Playfulness and Deadly Seriousness are my closest friends.
  2. Writing turns you into somebody who’s always wrong. The illusion that you may get it right someday is the perversity that draws you on.
  3. The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.
  4. Literature isn’t a moral beauty contest. Its power arises from the authority and audacity with which the impersonation is pulled off; the belief it inspires is what counts.
  5. A writer has to be driven crazy to help him to see. A writer needs his poisons.
  6. I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you – it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists.
  7. Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive.
  8. When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.
  9. Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.
  10. Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up.
  11. Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.
  12. I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and turn it around again…

Philip Roth was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award, twice the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel, American Pastoral.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 19th March 2013