Philip Roth, Prince of Asturias Award for Literature

Written on June 6, 2012 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

The US writer Philip Roth has been bestowed with the 2012 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for this Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by José Manuel Blecua Perdices and composed of Luis María Anson Oliart, Juan José Armas Marcelo, Xuan Bello Fernández, Blanca Berasátegui Garaizábal, Amelia Castilla Alcolado, Juan Cruz Ruiz, José Luis García Martín, Álex Grijelmo García, Manuel Llorente Manchado, Rosa Navarro Durán, Soledad Puértolas Villanueva, Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Diana Sorensen, Sergio Vila-Sanjuán and Román Suárez Blanco (acting as secretary).

This nomination was proposed by Michael Göring, Chairman of the Board of the ZEIT-Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius Foundation (Germany).

Philip Roth was born in Newark (New Jersey, USA) in 1933. He attended Bucknell University and then the University of Chicago, where he completed his M.A. and taught English Literature. He subsequently taught creative writing at both Iowa and Princeton and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He retired from teaching in 1992 to devote himself entirely to writing. He is considered the most representative writer of the so-called Jewish School of the North American novel.

His first book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), a book of stories about Jewish life in America, placed him in the forefront of success and literary prestige in his country. The short story that lends its title to the book was made into a film in 1969. InLetting Go (1962), he recounts the agony of a young Jewish professor who is torn between reason and feelings. Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) is written in the form of an autobiography and recounts the sexual life of Alexander Portnoy through a monologue from his psychiatrist’s couch. The novels The Breast (1972) and The Great American Novel (1973) marked a shift towards fantasy literature, while My Life as a Man (1974) noted a return to more introspective themes. The books The Ghost Writer (1979), Zuckerman Unbound (1981), The Anatomy Lesson (1983),The Human Stain (2000) and Exit Ghost (2007) recount the life and career of the writer and central character Nathan Zuckerman. His most recent books are: Shop Talk: a Writer and His Colleagues and Their Works (2003), The Plot against America (2005)Everyman (2006), The Humbling (2009) and Nemesis (2010).

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