April 26, 2006

WORK WITH ME, ME (via Tom Morin):

The dying animal: In the post-religious world of Philip Roth's fiction, humans do not have immortal souls. Death and desire is all we are. A S Byatt on a brief and bleak morality tale for our times: a review of Everyman by Philip Roth (A S Byatt, New Statesman)

Philip Roth is the great recorder of Darwinian Man - "unaccommodated man", who is no more than "a poor, bare, forked animal", as old King Lear observed. Roth has understood what it means to be a conscious creature, driven by sexual desire towards the death of the body, nothing more. [...]

Roth's characters inhabit a truly post-religious world, in which we do not have immortal souls, only sick, lively desire, and the dying of the animal. [...]

The body - his body, everyman's body - is the solid certainty in the story. [...]

Roth works with things, not with symbols or metaphors, but he chooses them craftily.

Though Ms Byatt cleverly gets off a couple double entendres there, she's obviously quite wrong about Mr. Roth, whose work is too onanistic to be Darwinian.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2006 2:50 PM

Haven't kept up with all of Roth's oeurve, but "Portnoy's Complaint" had me laughing out loud.

Posted by: erp at April 26, 2006 3:51 PM

How can one have "a morality tale" if we have no souls and all we are is "death and desire"?

Posted by: g at April 26, 2006 4:14 PM

Roth fiction: it's the veal thing.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 26, 2006 4:26 PM


what other frame of reference do non-believers have but belief?

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2006 5:12 PM