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Nemesis and the destruction of the strong man


The Humbling
Philip Roth Writer
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The Humbling, a book about an actor who loses his power to act, I had another goal, which was could I get this guy to commit suicide?  Persuasively?  It's not... it's not easy.  Could I... and maybe I didn't do it... can... can I get this guy to kill himself because he thinks, because too much has happened to him, you know.  And so he has... he takes two blows, one blow is losing his magic, the first line in the book is he'd lost his magic.  Losing his magic as a... as an actor.  And the second blow is romantic and sexual.  And that was that. 

The fame of the American writer Philip Roth (1933-2018) rested on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrayed in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he wrote, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: The Humbling

Duration: 1 minute, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013