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Portnoy's Complaint: using psychoanalysis


Is the voice the same as a character?
Philip Roth Writer
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[Q] Voice is different from a character, it's not… it's not the same thing as finding a character then?

No. A voice is the sound... the sound of the prose. A voice is the organisation of the prose. A voice is the... the rhythm… the rhythm of the prose. A character is something very different.

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: voice, sound, character, prose, rhythm

Duration: 18 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013