a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


'What could outlandishness do for me?'


Portnoy's Complaint: were you ashamed of it?
Philip Roth Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

No. I'm not ashamed of it. You know, I'm ashamed of the stories I wrote in college, the proper little stories. You know I'm not ashamed of it, it was a moment in my life and it was a moment in the cultural life of the times, and it came out of that moment. I was in control of it, I made it happen. But it came out of that… even the raucousness with which we would have those dinners – came out of that moment in time. And how old we all were, we were all in our middle thirties back then. And in every instance Jules, Al, Bob, me, [Jules Feiffer, Al Goldman, Bob Brustein], we were all highly responsible citizens. But we weren't responsible when we clowned and performed like this for one another, you know.

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: Jules Feiffer, Al Goldman, Bob Brustein

Duration: 1 minute

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013