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


Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth died from congestive heart failure on Tuesday in a Manhattan hospital, according to The New York Times. He was 85.

Roth was born in Newark, N.J. and attended Rutgers University and later transferred to Bucknell University. After receiving an M.A. in English literature from the University of Chicago, his first story was published in The New Yorker in 1958.

His first collection of short stories titled Goodbye, Columbus was published in 1959. This would be one of his many influential works that was adapted into a film. Goodbye, Columbus was directed by Larry Peerce and was nominated for an Academy Award for an adapted screenplay written by Arnold Schulman. His first novel, Letting Go, was published in 1962.

His works explored his perception of America and American themes. More specifically, he explored Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and the Jewish experience in America. In 1997 his book American Pastoral earned him a Pulitzer Prize. The movie was later adapted into a feature film in 2016 directed and starring Ewan McGregor. The character of Nathan Zuckerman is lauded as one of the most memorable characters from his books.

In addition to American Pastoral, a host of Roth’s novels were adapted into films: Portnoy’s Complaint starring Richard Benjamin, Karen Black and Lee Grant in 1972; The Human Stain starring Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins in 2003; Elegy starring Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley in 2008; The Humbling starring Al Pacino in 2014; and Indignation in 2016.

Before announcing his retirement in 2012, he received numerous literary accolades including the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award. He also was a three-time recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award.

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