Crucially, moreover, Roth wrote across a remarkable and volatile period in Jewish American history throughout which race was explicitly foregrounded as an issue. These are events from which his fiction –despite its markedly unstable rapport with reality – should not be abstracted. Yet a curiously inverted relationship reigns between the titanic number of Roth’s black characters, and the critical Roth scholarship on race. Articles and chapters on race represent the barest handful of what is otherwise a prodigious body of criticism. Recently, Philip Roth Studies devoted a special issue to “Roth and Race,” but no one has yet published an entire book that systematically treats and charts the appearance of characters of color or the numerous meanings of race in Roth. In this essay we hope to tease out some productive avenues toward such a text.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhilip Roth in Context
EditorsMaggie McKinley
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781108776547
ISBN (Print)9781108489294
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Publication series

NameLiterature in Context


  • Black Jewish matrix
  • Black Jewish conversation
  • race
  • racism
  • racial identity


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