Tag Archives: The Counterlife


Philip Roth’s Next Book and Biography: What’s Going On?

You, Roth, are the least completely rendered of all your protagonists. . . My guess is that you’ve written metamorphoses of yourself so many times, you no longer have any idea what you are or ever were. But now what you are is a walking text.

–Nathan Zuckerman to “Philip Roth” in The Facts: A Novelist’s Autobiography

(Photo of Philip Roth from NNDB.com. Click on photo to go to site of origin.)

When I first heard a few years back that an authorized biography of Philip Roth was being undertaken by…


Letting an Undergraduate Teach (Part One): The Counterlife

I teach in two distinct performative modes. In the first, primarily used for social-science instruction, I am the INTIMIDATING KNOWLEDGE EXPERT. From the moment I take attendance—and you better be in your seat when I call your name, Chuck—we are on the clock. My clock.

I speak drone on for about 75-80% of the class. The maws of my tense charges are sandblasted with facts, theories, counter readings, historical illustrations, and the occasional human interest story.

Don’t yawn, or appear to be t…