Philip Roth, whose brilliant, humorous, often feverish inquiries into Jewish identity, politics, sex, and culture turned him into America’s most celebrated author, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.
Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy said that Mr. Roth, 80, the author of 29 novels and the only living American author to have his works anthologized by the Library of America, is “an epicist who examines contemporary American life with incorruptible scrutiny.” He is the 14th American and the 14th Jew to be anointed with the honor.
The Newark-bred author will add the Nobel Prize to an unparalleled array of accolades, including two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize, the Man Booker Prize, the French Legion of Honor, and the National Humanities Medal. Often short-listed by the betting site Ladbrokes, in recent years, Mr. Roth’s name had dropped to 50/1 odds, making him a perennial long shot.
When reached by phone at his apartment in Manhattan, Mr. Roth seemed nonchalant about his new laurels. “I wasn’t in a hurry,” he said.
For Tablet’s full coverage of this historic award:
• Tablet literary critic Adam Kirsch offers his critical assessment
• Josh Lambert looks at how the king of shmutz took over the world
• Liel Leibovitz on why Roth’s Nobel win was inevitable—and regrettable
• Batya Ungar-Sargon bemoans the choice of yet another man. Why not Atwood or Lahiri or, better yet, Munro?