The Grapes of Roth: “Diasporism” Between Portnoy and Shy lock

Ezra Mendelsohn

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XII: Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112030
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854608 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

The Grapes of Roth: “Diasporism” Between Portnoy and Shy lock

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses Philip Roth's addition to the growing chorus of “diasporists” in the academy and the arts. In his novel Operation Shylock: A Confession, Roth made a cultural statement that not only finds value in recuperating discarded or defunct models, like crinolines crumbling in an old attic trunk, it is part of a postmodern search for value in the interstices, in the outskirts and peripheries of sacred centers and in the imagination of alternative worlds. The book is a narrative fiction whose conventional mandate and popular appeal lie in its potential for entertainment or edification, its main achievement lies in enacting some of the more ludicrous or lurid dimensions of a larger cultural agenda.

Keywords: Philip Roth; diasporists; Operation Shylock; narrative; fiction; entertainment; cultural agenda

Chapter.  5804 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.