October 7, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Maggie's Farm, Portnoy's Complaint

I attended a retrospective on the early work of Philip Roth at the Museum of Jewish Heritage last week, and couldn't help but notice that he and another iconoclastic Jewish boy were being given the canonical treatment in the same week.

I don’t imagine residents of Dylan’s native Hibbing, Minn., pack lectures about the singer to revel in — and cavil about — the “Hibbingness” of his work. But at Wednesday’s panel discussion, it seemed as if half the audience had crossed the Holland Tunnel to attend. When [biographer Ross] Miller referred to Roth as a “provincial boy” and Newark as a “provincial town,” you could hear the grumbles and hisses.

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