Philip Roth: American Pastoral (2370 words)

David Rampton (University of Ottawa)
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American Pastoral is part of Philip Roth’s American trilogy, three novels that he wrote at the end of the twentieth century, each set in a period in America’s recent history that marked the country in important ways. This novel represents his take on the tempestuous1960s. By far the most dramatic part of American Pastoral is the portrayal of Merry Levov, a teenager who plants bombs that kill innocent victims because she is opposed to the war in Vietnam and wants to start a revolution. But the novel is, like so many of Roth’s late works, also a book that takes us back to his own past, a book about what it was like to grow up in America in the 1930s and 40s. The violence and disillusionment of the 1960s, Roth seems …

Citation: Rampton, David. "American Pastoral". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 May 2010 [, accessed 24 September 2020.]

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