Philip Milton Roth (March 19, 1933 – May 22, 2018) was an American novelist and short-story writer.
Roth's fiction, regularly set in his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its "sensual, ingenious style" and for its provocative explorations of American identity.Roth first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. He became one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth's novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize.
He is also known as Philip Milton Roth.
Roth died at a Manhattan hospital of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018, at the age of 85.
Roth was buried at the Bard College Cemetery in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where in 1999 he taught a class. He had originally planned to be buried next to his parents at the Gomel Chesed Cemetery in Newark, but changed his mind about 15 years before his death, in order to be close to his friend the novelist Norman Manea. Roth expressly banned any religious rituals from his funeral service, though it was noted that only one day after his burial a pebble had been placed on top of his tombstone in accordance with Jewish tradition.
Among the admirers of Roth's work is the singer songwriter, fellow New Jersey native, and acclaimed celebrant of the state's culture, Bruce Springsteen. Roth read the musician's autobiography Born to Run and Springsteen read Roth's American Pastoral, I Married A Communist, and The Human Stain. Springsteen said of Roth's work: "I'll tell you, those three recent books by Philip Roth just knocked me on my ass ... To be in his sixties making work that is so strong, so full of revelations about love and emotional pain, that's the way to live your artistic life. Sustain, sustain, sustain."