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The New York Times on Philip Roth

Philip Roth, a Born Spellbinder and Peerless Chronicler of Sex and Death

By Dwight Garner

One might as well come out and say it: The death of Philip Roth marks, in its way, the end of a cultural era as definitively as the death of Pablo Picasso did in 1973.

Roth, who died Tuesday evening at 85, was the last front-rank survivor of a generation of fecund and authoritative and, yes, white and male novelists — the others included John Updike, Norman Mailer and Saul Bellow — who helped define American experience in the second half of the 20th century.

Updike had more sheer talent, Bellow more moxie. But it became increasingly apparent in the late stage of Roth’s career — as he turned on the afterburners, writing 11 novels, several of them masterpieces, between 1995 and 2010 — that he was leaving his cohort behind.

When one considers the dimensions of Roth’s late streak, it’s hard not to recall a moment in “The Human Stain,” his 2000 novel, in which his longtime fictional stand-in, Nathan Zuckerman, goes to Tanglewood one Saturday morning to hear an open rehearsal… Read more at The New York Times.

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