Old men behaving badly: morality, mortality and masculinity in <i>Sabbath's Theater</i>

David Brauner

in Philip Roth

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780719074240
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700938 | DOI:
Old men behaving badly: morality, mortality and masculinity in Sabbath's Theater

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In an ‘interview with [him]self’ on The Great American Novel in 1973 (reprinted in Reading Myself and Others), Philip Roth recalls how he came upon a letter from Herman Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, in which Melville describes his elation upon completing Moby Dick. In a feature on Roth published on the eve of the publication of Portnoy's Complaint, Albert Goldman traced the origins of the novel to the childhood larks of Roth and his peers. This chapter discusses Roth's treatment of morality, mortality and masculinity in what it considers to be his masterpiece, Sabbath's Theater (1995), comparing it with a short story by Stanley Elkin and a novel by Howard Jacobson that share many of its themes.

Keywords: Philip Roth; morality; mortality; masculinity; Sabbath's Theater; Stanley Elkin; Howard Jacobson

Chapter.  11238 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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