Philip Roth Dies: Pulitzer Prize Winning 'American Pastoral' Author Was 85

US novelist Philip Roth won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for

US novelist Philip Roth won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for"American Pastoral

Finally tonight, we remember the prolific writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth.

Phil's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, told he died congestive heart failure.

The celebrated and controversial author of "Portnoy's Complaint", "The Counterlife" and other novels was 85. Some anxious that his work would endanger American Jews, providing fodder for anti-Semites.

A contemporary of Don DeLillo Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer the late Philip Roth was the doyen of a whole literary era- but the Nobel prize evaded him

Roth initially didn't set his sight on being an author. "If I am not an American, I am nothing", or, as he summarized on anor occasion rejecting Community dimension and highlighting his objective of universality: "I do not write Jew, I write American". In American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000), Roth traced the upheavals of the 1940s Red Scare, the turbulent 1960s and the debates over political correctness in the 1990s.

Trump's tenure thrust back into the public eye Roth's 2004 novel that imagined Charles Lindbergh, an aviator with pro-Nazi leanings, defeating Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.

"His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally", the chair of the judges of the prize announced at the time. "Time heals all wounds", Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles remarked to JTA via email at the time.

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Roth had been especially prolific in the years leading to his 2012 retirement from writing, turning out novels almost every two years.

The seminary's chancellor, Arnold Eisen, himself a sociologist, called Roth the "greatest sociologist on American Jewish life, without doubt".

As the news of his death spread, commentators shared their loved quotes from the author's work and considered his legacy in American literature.

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Although much of his work appeared autobiographical, Mr. Roth said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that his personal history represented only a starting point.

Roth was born March 19, 1933 in Newark, and was raised in the city's Weequahic neighborhood, wedged between Routes 78 and 22. Roth is one of only a handful of fiction authors to have won two National Book Awards (for "Goodbye, Columbus" and "Sabbath's Theater", 1994). A short story in the collection - Defender of the Faith - was about a Jewish army officer's conflict with Jewish soldiers trying to avoid combat duty. A memorial is being planned in NY, possibly in September, his biographer Blake Bailey said. Recalling being shouted at by hostile students after the event, Roth vowed to "never write about Jews again" - a promise, of course, that he did not keep.

Roth went on to teach at University of Iowa, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. "His endings tend to the tragic".

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Roth liked to play with the distinctions between fact and fiction, often writing about neurotic novelists and even naming some characters "Philip.' Yet he was frequently annoyed and amused by readers" desire to project the real Roth onto his characters. The exceptional trilogy, tragic-comic in style and heavily historical in content, saw Roth engage with American politics and concerns for the first time in two decades, and impressively, at age 60.

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