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Roth Unbound


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A critical evaluation of Philip Roth - the first of its kind - that takes on the man, the myth, and the work

About the Author

Claudia Roth Pierpont is a staff writer for the New Yorker, where she has written about the arts for more than twenty years. The subjects of her articles have ranged from James Baldwin to Katharine Hepburn, from Machiavelli to Mae West. A collection of Pierpont s essays on women writers, Passionate Minds- Women Rewriting the World, was published in 2000 and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Pierpont has been the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library. She has a PhD in Italian Renaissance art history from New York University. She lives in New York City.


"Roth Unbound has two particularly strong selling points. It is the first full-length study to be published since Roth's announcement that Nemesis would be his final novel. It is therefore the first to cover what currently looks to be his entire oeuvre... Secondly, Roth has made himself available as a commentator on - if not wholly a collaborator with - Pierpont's project, with the result that her account of his life and works is supplemented with marginal illuminations from her subject himself." -- Bharat Tandon * Literary Review *
"A celebration... an illuminating companion to Roth's work." * Economist *
"The first study of the complete oeuvre... Roth collaborated with [Pierpont], answering questions, contributing asides as she writes. The effect is surreal. Ten pages of Pierpont's sparky prose can go by without interruption. Then she'll say, "Speaking today about this encounter, Roth remarks..." as if the great man has been sitting by her side all the time, peering to see the sentences unfold, his breath in her ear." -- John Walsh * Sunday Times *
"[Pierpont] binds the books to the man not by mining them for nuggets of autobiographical information but by talking to Roth himself about what he put into them, by which she doesn't mean the facts, but the territory of imagination and self that creates fiction... What Pierpont has achieved is to defeat speculation. Whatever we think we know, turns out to be wrong." -- Linda Grant * Independent *
"Pierpont knows her (somewhat inaccessible) subject and has punctuated her narrative with conversational snippets. A must for fans." -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *

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