Philip Roth

(2519 words)
  • Ranen Omer-Sherman (University of Miami )

On the last page of Philip Roth's memoir Patrimony (1991), he tells of a terrifying dream that came in the weeks following the burial of his father, an assimilated secular Jew who had never exhibited any particular inclination toward faith. Responding to the mortician's request that he choose a suit for the burial, he inexplicably acted on a pious impulse to bury his father in an old prayer shawl. In the dream, Herman Roth appeared to bitterly condemn his son's choice:

One night some six weeks later, at around 4:00 A.M., he came in a hooded white shroud to reproach me. He said, “I should have been dressed in a suit. You did the wrong thing.” I awakened screaming. All that peered out from the shroud was the …
Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Omer-Sherman, Ranen. "Philip Roth". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2004
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]

Articles on Roth's works

  1. “Defender of the Faith”
  2. American Pastoral
  3. Goodbye, Columbus
  4. I Married a Communist
  5. Portnoy's Complaint
  6. The Counterlife
  7. The Human Stain
  8. The Plot Against America
  9. Zuckerman Unbound

Related Groups

  1. Jewish American Writing