Quotes by Philip Roth

Philip Milton Roth (born March 19, 1933) is a Jewish-American novelist who is known for his 1959 collection, Goodbye, Columbus, as well as his sexually-explicit comedic novel Portnoy's Complaint (1969) and for his late-'90s trilogy comprising the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998), and The Human Stain (2000). Most of his novels contain Jewish characters and address issues of importance to American society such as assimilation, Zionism, and anti-Semitism.

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Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding?

When you publish a book, it's the world's book. The world edits it.
Undermining experience, embellishing experience, rearranging and enlarging experience into a species of mythology.
Only in America do these peasants, our mothers, get their hair dyed platinum at the age of sixty, and walk up and down Collins Avenue in Florida in pedal pushers and mink stoles -- and with opinions on every subject under the sun. It isn't their fault they were given a gift like speech -- look, if cows could talk, they would say things just as idiotic.
The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.
My God! The English language is a form of communication! Conversation isn't just crossfire where you shoot and get shot at! Where you've got to duck for your life and aim to kill! Words aren't only bombs and bullets -- no, they're little gifts, containing meanings!
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.
A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until they die!
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.
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.
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.
Just like those who are incurably ill, the aged know everything about their dying except exactly when.
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.
I write fiction and I'm told it's autobiography, I write autobiography and I'm told it's fiction, so since I'm so dim and they're so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn't.
Old age isn’t a battle. Old age is a massacre.

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