On the subject of Philip Roth. Cohen writes:

But don't get me started on the academy, whose prejudice against the United States and failure to recognize Philip Roth is beyond scandalous. "American Pastoral" alone merits the Nobel several times over. A further prize, for proving the creative fecundity of late life, should be accorded Roth.

His anger is entirely justifiable -- I mean, Pearl Buck gets a Nobel, and not Roth? The whole thing is nuts. On another level, I'm not sure Cohen is reading deeply the later Roth. The young Roth treated his Judaism as comedy; the older Roth has explored, seriously and at length, the marginal nature of Jewish existence. Not something that seems to preoccupy Cohen.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.