Read Philip Roth's merciless takedown of Trump

Philip Roth: A literary life in seven stages

Novelist Philip Roth has died

He added: "Improbably, I had the honor of meeting Philip Roth just a few months ago to discuss an adaptation of Plot Against America".

Philip Roth, one of most important authors of American literature in second half of twentieth century, has died this Tuesday night in Manhattan at 85 years as confirmed by his agent, Andrew Wylie.

A prolific essayist and critic as well as a novelist, Roth long managed to sustain his literary output both in terms of quality as well as quantity, exemplified by his widely admired political trilogy - "American Pastoral" (1997), "I Married a Communist" (1998) and "The Human Stain" (2000).

"I have many favorite books by Roth, but this is one of them". He was the first three-time victor of the PEN/Faulkner Award, honored for "Operation Shylock" in 1994, "The Human Stain" in 2001 and "Everyman" in 2007. He then went back and reread all his works "to see whether I'd wasted my time", he said in a 2014 interview published in the New York Times Book Review.

REUTERS  Eric Thayer  File
American literary giant Philip Roth dies at 85

Eight of Roth's novels were adapted into films, including "Goodbye, Columbus", "Portnoy's Complaint", "The Human Stain", "The Dying Animal", "Elegy", "The Humbling", "Indignation" and "American Pastoral". In 2012, Roth made a decision to retire from writing.

The decorated author won most top literary honours, but the coveted Nobel Literature Prize eluded him. On a panel at Yeshiva University in 1962, he was attacked, and he promised himself he'd never write about Jews again.

Although his novels often explored the Jewish experience in America, Roth, who said he was an atheist, rejected being labeled a Jewish-American writer.

Roth never won the Nobel Prize, but was awarded almost every other accolade going - including the Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Man Booker prize for worldwide achievement.

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Many Jewish leaders in the 1950s and 1960s found it hard to embrace Roth, who had emerged from his cherished Jewish Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey to wide acclaim with his first novella and short story collection, Goodbye, Columbus.

'I don't want to read any more of it, write any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore.

"The death of Philip Roth marks, in its way, the end of a cultural era as definitively as the death of Pablo Picasso did in 1973", he wrote.

In The Plot Against America, Roth explores a political alternative history - one in which Franklin D Roosevelt is defeated by "America first" candidate Charles Lindbergh in the 1940 United States election, resulting in growing anti-Semitism and the persecution of the author's Jewish-American family.

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Roth's personal life was dragged into the spotlight following his messy breakup with British actress Claire Bloom, who painted a grim picture of life with her ex-husband in her 1996 memoir "Leaving a Doll's House".

'The Plot Against America, ' published in 2004, imagines what would have happened had flying ace Charles Lindbergh, an isolationist who expressed anti-Semitic views, defeated Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 election and signed a peace accord with Adolf Hitler. "I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life".

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