Philip Roth Books in Order

The Philip Roth books have become so popular over the years that generation after generation, people keep going back to them.

If you're just starting with it and want a reading list, you're in luck. Here we list out all the Philip Roth books in order; keeping in mind various factors like the publication year, reviews, its popularity among readers, etc.

It’s always a good idea to read such book titles in sequence so that you don't miss out on the story plot and its discussions in the book clubs.

Publication Order of American Trilogy Books

American Pastoral

Roth, Philip 1997

As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century's promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth's protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock.

And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him.For Swede's adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism.

And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longer-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, this is Roth's masterpiece.

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I Married a Communist

Roth, Philip 1998

I Married a Communist is the story of the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, a big American roughneck who begins life as a teenage ditch-digger in 1930s Newark, becomes a big-time 1940s radio star, and is destroyed, as both a performer and a man, in the McCarthy witchhunt of the 1950s.

In his heyday as a star—and as a zealous, bullying supporter of "progressive" political causes—Ira marries Hollywood's beloved silent-film star, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon in her Manhattan townhouse is shortlived, however, and it is the publication of Eve's scandalous bestselling exposé that identifies him as "an American taking his orders from Moscow.

"In this story of cruelty, betrayal, and revenge spilling over into the public arena from their origins in Ira's turbulent personal life, Philip Roth—who Commonweal calls the "master chronicler of the American twentieth century—has written a brilliant fictional protrayal of that treacherous postwar epoch when the anti-Communist fever not only infected national politics but traumatized the intimate, innermost lives of friends and families, husbands and wives, parents and children.

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The Human Stain

Roth, Philip 2000

Coleman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with a woman half his age. And it's not the secret of his alleged racism, which provoked the college witchhunt that cost him his job. Coleman's secret is deeper, and lies at the very core of who he is, and he has kept it hidden from everyone for fifty years.

Set in 1998, with the backdrop of the impeachment of a president, "The Human Stain" shows us an America where conflicting moralities and ideological divisions result in public denunciations and houndings, and where innocence is not always a good enough excuse.

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Publication Order of David Kepesh Books

The Breast

Roth, Philip 1972

Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka's protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth's richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast.

What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh's metamorphosis—a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity.

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The Professor of Desire

Roth, Philip 1977

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will be—or how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.

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The Dying Animal

Roth, Philip 2001

No matter how much you know, no matter how much you think, no matter how much you plot and you connive and you plan, you’re not superior to sex. With these words our most unflaggingly energetic and morally serious novelist launches perhaps his fiercest book.

The speaker is David Kepesh, white-haired and over sixty, an eminent cultural critic and star lecturer at a New York college–as well as an articulate propagandist of the sexual revolution. For years he has made a practice of sleeping with adventurous female students while maintaining an aesthete’s critical distance.

But now that distance has been annihilated. The agency of Kepesh’s undoing is Consuela Castillo, the decorous and humblingly beautiful 24-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles. When he becomes involved with her, Kepesh finds himself dragged–helplessly, bitterly, furiously–into the quagmire of sexual jealousy and loss.

In chronicling this descent, Philip Roth performs a breathtaking set of variations on the themes of eros and mortality, license and repression, selfishness and sacrifice. The Dying Animal is a burning coal of a book, filled with intellectual heat and not a little danger.

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Publication Order of Nathan Zuckerman Books

My Life as a Man

Roth, Philip 1974

A fiction-within-a-fiction, a labyrinthine edifice of funny, mournful, and harrowing meditations on the fatal impasse between a man and a woman, My Life as a Man is Roth's most blistering novel. At its heart lies the marriage of Peter and Maureen Tarnopol, a gifted young writer and the woman who wants to be his muse but who instead is his nemesis.

Their union is based on fraud and shored up by moral blackmail, but it is so perversely durable that, long after Maureen's death, Peter is still trying—and failing—to write his way free of it. Out of desperate inventions and cauterizing truths, acts of weakness, tenderheartedness, and shocking cruelty, Philip Roth creates a work worthy of Strindberg—a fierce tragedy of sexual need and blindness.

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The Ghost Writer

Roth, Philip 1979

The Ghost Writer introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the Great Books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his idol, E.

I. Lonoff. At Lonoff's, Zuckerman meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background who turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's and who may also have been his mistress. Zuckerman, with his active, youthful imagination, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution.

If she were, it might change his life.The first volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound, The Ghost Writer is about the tensions between literature and life, artistic truthfulness and conventional decency—and about those implacable practitioners who live with the consequences of sacrificing one for the other.

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Zuckerman Unbound

Roth, Philip 1981

Now in his mid-thirties, Nathan Zuckerman, a would-be recluse despite his newfound fame as a bestselling author, ventures onto the streets of Manhattan in the final year of the turbulent sixties. Not only is he assumed by his fans to be his own fictional satyr, Gilbert Carnovsky, but he also finds himself the target of admonishers, advisers, and literary critics.

The recent murders of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., lead an unsettled Zuckerman to wonder if 'target' may be more than a figure of speech. In Zuckerman Unbound - the second volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound - the notorious novelist retreats from his oldest friends, breaks his marriage to a virtuous woman, and damages, perhaps irreparably, his affectionate connection to his younger brother.

..and all because of his great good fortune.

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The Anatomy Lesson

Roth, Philip 1983

At forty, the writer Nathan Zuckerman comes down with a mysterious affliction—pure pain, beginning in his neck and shoulders, invading his torso, and taking possession of his spirit. Zuckerman, whose work was his life, is unable to write a line. Now his work is trekking from one doctor to another, but none can find a cause for the pain and nobody can assuage it.

Zuckerman himself wonders if the pain can have been caused by his own books. And while he is wondering, his dependence on painkillers grows into an addiction to vodka, marijuana, and Percodan.The Anatomy Lesson is a great comedy of illness written in what the English critic Hermione Lee has described as "a manner at once.

..brash and thoughtful... lyrical and wry, which projects through comic expostulations and confessions...a knowing, humane authority." The third volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound, The Anatomy Lesson provides some of the funniest scenes in all of Roth's fiction as well as some of the fiercest.

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The Prague Orgy

Roth, Philip 1985

In quest of the unpublished manuscript of a martyred Yiddish writer, the American novelist Nathan Zuckerman travels to Soviet-occupied Prague in the mid-1970s. There, in a nation straightjacketed by totalitarian Communism, he discovers a literary predicament, marked by institutionalized oppression, that is rather different from his own.

He also discovers, among the oppressed writers with whom he quickly becomes embroiled in a series of bizarre and poignant adventures, an appealingly perverse kind of heroism.The Prague Orgy, consisting of entries from protagonist Nathan Zuckerman's notebooks recording his sojourn among these outcast artists, completes the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman bound.

It provides a startling ending to Roth's intricately designed magnum opus on the unforeseen consequences of art. This Vintage edition is the first paperback publication of the epilogue.

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Exit Ghost

Roth, Philip 2007

Alone for eleven years on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer: no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age.Walking the streets of New York after so many years away, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude.

Suddenly involved, as he never wanted or intended to be again, with love, mourning, desire, and animosity, Zuckerman plays out an interior drama of vivid and poignant possibilities. Revisiting the characters from Roth’s much-heralded The Ghost Writer, Exit Ghost is an astounding leap into yet another phase in this great writer’s oeuvre.

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Letting Go

Roth, Philip 1961

Letting Go is Roth's first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa city, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today.

Newly discharged from the Korean War army, reeling from his mother's recent death, freed from old attachments and hungrily seeking others, Gabe Wallach is drawn to Paul Herz, a fellow graduate student in literature, and to Libby, Paul's moody, intense wife.

Gabe's desire to be connected to the ordered "world of feeling" that he finds in books is first tested vicariously by the anarchy of the Herzes' struggles with responsible adulthood and then by his own eager love affairs. Driven by the desire to live seriously and act generously, Gabe meets an impassable test in the person of Martha Reganhart, a spirited, outspoken, divorced mother of two, a formidable woman who, according to critic James Atlas, is masterfully portrayed with "depth and resonance.

"The complex liason between Gabe and Martha and Gabe's moral enthusiasm for the trials of others are at the heart of this tragically comic work.

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When She Was Good

Roth, Philip 1966

In this funny and chilling novel, the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, and the subject is the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman, one of those implacable American moralists whose "goodness" is a terrible disease. When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail.

Ever since then she has been trying to reform the men around her, even if that ultimately means destroying herself in the process. With his unerring portraits of Lucy and her hapless, childlike husband, Roy, Roth has created an uncompromising work of fictional realism, a vision of provincial American piety, yearning, and discontent that is at once pitiless and compassionate.

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Our Gang

Roth, Philip 1971

A ferocious political satire in the great tradition, Our Gang is Philip Roth’s brilliantly indignant response to the phenomenon of Richard M. Nixon.In the character of Trick E. Dixon, Roth shows us a man who outdoes the severest cynic, a peace-loving Quaker and believer in the sanctity of human life who doesn’t have a problem with killing unarmed women and children in self-defense.

A master politician with an honest sneer, he finds himself battling the Boy Scouts, declaring war on Pro-Pornography Denmark, all the time trusting in the basic indifference of the voting public.

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The Great American Novel

Roth, Philip 1973

Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman, John Baal, "The Babe Ruth of the Big House," who never hit a home run sober. If you've never heard of them—or of the Ruppert Mundys, the only homeless big-league ball team in American history—it's because of the Communist plot, and the capitalist scandal, that expunged the entire Patriot League from baseball memory.

In this ribald, richly imagined, and wickedly satiric novel, Roth turns baseball's status as national pastime and myth into an occasion for unfettered picaresque farce, replete with heroism and perfidy, ebullient wordplay and a cast of characters that includes the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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The Counterlife

Roth, Philip 1986

The Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies. Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.

Illuminating these lives in transition and guiding us through the book's evocative landscapes, familiar and foreign, is the miind of the novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the skeptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that's paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist's office in suburban New Jersey, or in a tradition-bound English Village in Gloucestershire, or in a church in London's West End, or in a tiny desert settlement in Israel's occupied West Bank.

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Deception

Roth, Philip 1990

"With the lover everyday life recedes," Roth writes—and exhibiting all his skill as a brilliant observer of human passion, he presents in Deception the tightly enclosed world of adulterous intimacy with a directness that has no equal in American fiction.

At the center of Deception are two adulterers in their hiding place. He is a middle-aged American writer named Philip, living in London, and she is an articulate, intelligent, well-educated Englishwoman compromised by a humiliating marriage to which, in her thirties, she is already nervously half-resigned.

The book's action consists of conversation—mainly the lovers talking to each other before and after making love. That dialogue—sharp, rich, playful, inquiring, "moving," as Hermione Lee writes, "on a scale of pain from furious bafflement to stoic gaiety"—is nearly all there is to this book, and all there needs to be.

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Patrimony

Roth, Philip 1991

Patrimony, a true story, touches the emotions as strongly as anything Philip Roth has ever written. Roth watches as his eighty-six-year-old father—famous for his vigor, charm, and his repertoire of Newark recollections—battles with the brain tumor that will kill him.

The son, full of love, anxiety, and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father's long, stubborn engagement with life.

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Operation Shylock

Roth, Philip 1993

Time Magazine Best American Novel (1993)In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews.

Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating his own impersonator. With excruciating suspense, unfettered philosophical speculation, and a cast of characters that includes Israeli intelligence agents, Palestinian exiles, an accused war criminal, and an enticing charter member of an organization called Anti-Semites Anonymous, Operation Shylock barrels across the frontier between fact and fiction, seriousness and high comedy, history and nightmare.

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Sabbath's Theater

Roth, Philip 1995

Sabbath's Theater is a comic creation of epic proportions, and Mickey Sabbath is its gargantuan hero. Once a scandalously inventive puppeteer, Sabbath at sixty-four is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous. But after the death of his long-time mistress—an erotic free spirit whose adulterous daring surpassed even his own—Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past.

Bereft and grieving, besieged by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him most, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction.

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The Plot Against America

Roth, Philip 2004

Philip Roth's bestselling alternate history novel--the chilling story of what happens to one family when America elects a charismatic, isolationist president--is soon to be an HBO limited series.In an extraordinary feat of narrative invention, Philip Roth imagines an alternate history where Franklin D.

Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to heroic aviator and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. Shortly thereafter, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism.

For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh's election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America-and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.

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Everyman

Roth, Philip 2006

Philip Roth's new novel is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The bestselling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong skirmish with mortality.

The fate of Roth's everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age, when he is rended by observing the deterioration of his contemporaries and stalked by his own physical woes.

The terrain of this powerful novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.

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Indignation

Philip Roth 2008

It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at the local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad--mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy.

As the long-suffering, desperately harassed mother tells her son, the father's fear arises from love and pride. Perhaps, but it produces too much anger in Marcus for him to endure living with his parents any longer. He leaves them and, far from Newark, in the midwestern college, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth's twenty-ninth book, is a story of inexperience, foolishness, intellectual resistance, sexual discovery, courage, and error. It is a story told with all the inventive energy and wit Roth has at his command, at once a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in his recent books and a powerful addition to his investigations of the impact of American history on the life of the vulnerable individual.

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The Humbling

Roth, Philip 2009
Light wear to cover. Orders received by 3pm Sent from the UK that weekday. Read More

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Conversion of the Jews

Roth, Philip 1958
Thirteen-year-old Ozzie's questioning of what he is taught in religious class leads to a tense confrontation with his rabbi Read More

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories

Roth, Philip 1959

Roth's award-winning first book instantly established its author's reputation as a writer of explosive wit, merciless insight, and a fierce compassion for even the most self-deluding of his characters.Goodbye, Columbus is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love.

The novella is accompanied by five short stories that range in tone from the iconoclastic to the astonishingly tender and that illuminate the subterranean conflicts between parents and children and friends and neighbors in the American Jewish diaspora.

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A Philip Roth Reader

Roth, Philip 1980
Selections from nine novels following Goodbye Columbus, Roth's first book, including Letting Go, Portnoy's Complaint, and The Ghost Writer, chronicle Roth's satiric and sensitive examination of art, life, and personal crisis Read More

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Reading Myself and Others

Roth, Philip 1975

The interviews, essays, and articles collected here span a quarter century of Philip Roth's distinguished career and "reveal [a] preoccupation with the relationship between the written and the unwritten world." Here is Roth on himself and his work and the controversies it's engendered.

Here too are Roth's writings on the Eastern European writers he has always championed; and on baseball, American fiction, and American Jews. The essential collection of nonfiction by a true American master, Reading Myself and Others features his long interview with the Paris Review.

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The Facts

Roth, Philip 1988

The Facts is the unconventional autobiography of a writer who has reshaped our idea of fiction—a work of compelling candor and inventiveness, instructive particularly in its revelation of the interplay between life and art. Philip Roth concentrates on five episodes from his life: his secure city childhood in the thirties and forties; his education in American life at a conventional college; his passionate entanglement, as an ambitious young man, with the angriest person he ever met (the "girl of my dreams" Roth calls her); his clash, as a fledgling writer, with a Jewish establishment outraged by Goodbye, Columbus; and his discovery, in the excesses of the sixties, of an unmined side to his talent that led him to write Portnoy's Complaint.

The book concludes surprisingly—in true Rothian fashion—with a sustained assault by the novelist against his proficiencies as an autobiographer.

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Shop Talk

Roth, Philip 2001

In Philip Roth’s intimate intellectual encounters with an international and diverse cast of writers, they explore the importance of region, politics and history in their work and trace the imaginative path by which a writer’s highly individualized art is informed by the wider conditions of life.

With Primo Levi, Roth discusses the stubborn core of rationality that helped the Italian chemist-writer survive the demented laboratory of Auschwitz. With Milan Kundera, he analyzes the mix of politics and sexuality that made him the most subversive writer in communist Czechoslovakia.

With Edna O’Brien, he explores the circumstances that have forced generations of Irish writers into exile. Elsewhere Roth offers appreciative portraits of two friends—the writer Bernard Malamud and the painter Philip Guston—at the end of their careers, and gives us a masterful assessment of the work of Saul Bellow.

Intimate, charming, and crackling with ideas about the interplay between imagination and the writer’s historical situation, Shop Talk is a literary symposium of the highest level, presided over by America’s foremost novelist.

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A Writer at Work

Philip Roth,Volker Hage 2011

Why Write?

Roth, Philip 2017

America’s most celebrated writer returns with a definitive edition of his essential statements on literature, his controversial novels, and the writing life, including including six pieces published here for the first time and many others newly revised.

Throughout a unparalleled literary career that includes two National Book Awards (Goodbye, Columbus, 1959 and Sabbath’s Theater, 1995), the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (American Pastoral, 1997), the National Book Critics Circle Award (The Counterlife, 1986), and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by President Obama in 2011), among many other honors, Philip Roth has produced an extraordinary body of nonfiction writing on a wide range of topics: his own work and that of the writers he admires, the creative process, and the state of American culture.

This work is collected for the first time in Why Write?, the tenth and final volume in the Library of America’s definitive Philip Roth edition. Here is Roth’s selection of the indispensable core of Reading Myself and Others, the entirety of the 2001 book Shop Talk, and “Explanations,” a collection of fourteen later pieces brought together here for the first time, six never before published.

Among the essays gathered are “My Uchronia,” an account of the genesis of The Plot Against America, a novel grounded in the insight that “all the assurances are provisional, even here in a two-hundred-year-old democracy”; “Errata,” the unabridged version of the “Open Letter to Wikipedia” published on The New Yorker’s website in 2012 to counter the online encyclopedia’s egregious errors about his life and work; and “The Ruthless Intimacy of Fiction,” a speech delivered on the occasion of his eightieth birthday that celebrates the “refractory way of living” of Sabbath’s Theater’s Mickey Sabbath.

Also included are two lengthy interviews given after Roth’s retirement, which take stock of a lifetime of work.LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing.

The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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Publication Order of Anthologies


And that's the end of the complete list! Now that you have it - the next step for you is to of course purchase them and dive into reading Philip Roth books. Worry not, we've done the tedious job for you and added amazon direct book links including AudioBook, Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover versions as applicable.

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