Jacques Berlinerblau’s recent book is motivated by a timely question: what do we do with Philip Roth in light of the #MeToo movement? As Berlinerblau explains, Roth’s novels have become a “really, really hard sell” to younger generations of readers with a lower tolerance for misogynist portrayals of women and sexual relations. Depending on where you teach, this might sound like an overly optimistic reading of the cultural sensitivities of rising generations of undergraduates, or an accurate reflection of these students’ inclination to reject artists whose misdeeds on the sexual or racial front—in their fiction or in the artists’ real lives—are too great. In either case, Berlinerblau is sensitive to the challenges that Roth’s male protagonists present to contemporary readers: “When they’re not sounding like epaulet-bearing brand ambassadors from ‘rape culture,’ Roth’s men find other ways to alienate vast swaths of today’s readership. They indulge in racist banter. They mock...
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Book Review| March 03 2023
Jacques Berlinerblau. The Philip Roth We Don’t Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography
The Philip Roth We Don’t Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography.
University of Virginia Press,
2021. 240 pp.
Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-) (2023) 42 (1): 109–111.
Rachel Gordan; Jacques Berlinerblau. The Philip Roth We Don’t Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography. Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-) 3 March 2023; 42 (1): 109–111. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/studamerijewilite.42.1.0109
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