Quotations From PHILIP ROTH

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  • 1.
    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.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. Phillip to his wife, in Deception, p. 190 (of Jonathan Cape edition) (1990).

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  • 2.
    The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. author. New York Times Book Review (July 15, 1979).
  • 3.
    Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding?
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. Nathan Zuckerman, in The Counterlife, ch. 5 (1986).
  • 4.
    To become a celebrity is to become a brand name. There is Ivory Soap, Rice Krispies, and Philip Roth. Ivory is the soap that floats; Rice Krispies the breakfast cereal that goes snap-crackle-pop; Philip Roth the Jew who masturbates with a piece of liver.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. "Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur," Reading Myself and Other (May 1981, rev. edition 1985).
  • 5.
    It's a family joke that when I was a tiny child I turned from the window out of which I was watching a snowstorm, and hopefully asked, 'Momma, do we believe in winter?'
    Philip Roth (20th century), U.S. writer. Portnoy's Complaint (1967).

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  • 6.
    A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die.
    Philip Roth (20th century), U.S. writer. Portnoy's Complaint (1967).
  • 7.
    Obviously the facts are never just coming at you but are incorporated by an imagination that is formed by your previous experience. Memories of the past are not memories of facts but memories of your imaginings of the facts.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. The Facts (1988). Opening letter to Zuckerman, Roth's fictional alter ego.

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  • 8.
    Undermining experience, embellishing experience, rearranging and enlarging experience into a species of mythology.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. The Facts (1988). Describing the life of a fiction writer, in opening letter to Zuckerman.
  • 9.
    It isn't that you subordinate your ideas to the force of the facts in autobiography but that you construct a sequence of stories to bind up the facts with a persuasive hypothesis that unravels your history's meaning.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. The Facts, opening letter to Zuckerman (1988).

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  • 10.
    A Jew without Jews, without Judaism, without Zionism, without Jewishness, without a temple or an army or even a pistol, a Jew clearly without a home, just the object itself, like a glass or an apple.
    Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. Nathan Zuckerman, in The Counterlife, ch. 5 (1986). Describing his newfound sense of difference after living in England, he explained, "England's made a Jew of me in only eight weeks, which, on reflection, might be the least painful method."

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