Philip Roth at 80

Tuesday, 19 March, 2013

For years, Philip Roth suffered from writer’s block that ended only when sessions with an analyst freed him to be “shameless” in his writing. Portnoy’s Complaint was the result. Before it was published, he sat down with his parents and warned them the book was going to cause a lot of controversy. It was only later, Roth says, that he found out his father brought a box of advance copies and proudly passed them out on friends and strangers, boldly autographed “From Philip Roth’s father.”

Portnoy's Complaint “They worship a Jew, do you know that, Alex? Their whole big-deal religion is based on worshiping someone who was an established Jew at that time. Now how do you like that for stupidity? How do you like that for pulling the wool over the eyes of the public? Jesus Christ, who they go around telling everybody was God, was actually a Jew! And this fact, that absolutely kills me when I have to think about it, nobody else pays any attention to. That he was a Jew, like you and me, and that they took a Jew and turned him into some kind of God after he is already dead, and then — and this is what can make you absolutely crazy — then the dirty bastards turn around afterwards, and who is the first one on their list to persecute? Who haven’t they left their hands off of to murder and to hate for two thousand years? The Jews! Who gave them their beloved Jesus to begin with! I assure you, Alex, you are never going to hear such a mishegoss of mixed-up crap and disgusting nonsense as the Christian religion in your entire life. And that’s what these big shots, so-called, believe!”

Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint

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