Philip Roth announced his retirement—last month, in fact, to a French publication. It wasn’t until today, however, that American news organizations got wind of the announcement that the 78-year-old writer would not write another novel.
Salon has a translation of the interview, in which Roth cites satisfaction with his literary output, saying, “I did the best I could with what I had:”
“And after that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I do not want to read, to write more,” he said. “I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote and I read. With the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life.”
Roth, famous for his portrayal of Jewish male protagonists (and their mothers), has written prolifically since his first major work, Goodbye Columbus, was published in 1959. Just as his novels garnered controversy, the news of his retirement has sparked something of a Twitter debate over the quality of his earlier work as compared to his later work. After all, everyone has a favorite Roth novel.
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) November 9, 2012