Philip Roth Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Philip Roth Quotes

#1.
nor had I understood til then how the shameless vanity of utter fools can so strongly determine the fate of others - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #25749
#2. I work most days and if you work most days and you get at least a page done a day, then at the end of the year you have 365. So the pages accumulate and then I publish the books. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #41972
#3. Sex is all the enchantment required. Do men find women so enchanting once the sex is taken out? Does anyone find anyone that enchanting unless they have sexual business with them? Who else are you enchanted by? Nobody. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #55461
#4. Could he continue to maintain his sanity that long? He didn't know. That's why he was devouring two or three books a day - to remove himself every minute that he possibly could from the madness of this life. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #71907
#5. The only patient being treated by the writer is himself - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #72067
#6. I was a biography in constant motion, memory to the marrow of my bones. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #74469
#7. How Far back must we go to discover the beginning of trouble? - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #97974
#8. In short, dozens of conflicting, truncated impressions were already teasing to be understood, but the wisest course seemed to me to keep them to myself so long as I didn't begin to know what they added up to. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #140924
#9. I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there's a paragraph that's alive. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #158487
#10. I would quit while you're ahead. Really. It's an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and you write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it's not any good. I would say just stop now. You don't want to do this to yourself. That's my advice to you. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #197803
#11. Sheer Playfulness and Deadly Seriousness are my closest friends. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #225414
#12. You put too much stock in intelligence," Marcia teased him. "It doesn't annihilate human nature." "That's - Author: Philip Roth
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#13. Nathan called all shiksas Maria
the explanation seemed as ludicrously simple as that. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #283584
#14. You take off your clothes and you're in bed with somebody, and that is indeed where whatever you've concealed, your particularity, whatever it may be, however encrypted, is going to be found out, and that's what all the shyness is all about and what everybody fears. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #284414
#15. It's no picnic up there in the egosphere. - Author: Philip Roth
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#16. Zuckerman, sucker though he was for seriousness, was still not going to be drawn into a discussion about agents and editors. If ever there was a reason for an American writer to seek asylum in Red China, it would be to put ten thousand miles between himself and those discussions. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #416263
#17. My father believes not what he sees with his eyes for an entire lifetime, instead he believes what he's told by the plumber on his knees fixing the toilet in the back of the store!" I couldn't stop. He'd been driven crazy by the chance remark of a plumber! "Yeah, - Author: Philip Roth
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#18. Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear.Of course no childhood is without its terrors, yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn't been president or if I hadn't been the offspring of Jews. - Author: Philip Roth
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#19. In school we chanted, along with our teacher, I am the Captain of my fate, I am the Master of my soul, and meanwhile, within my own body, an anarchic insurrection had been launched by one of my privates- which I was helpless to put down! - Author: Philip Roth
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#20. Because you happen to be a writer doesn't mean you have to deny yourself the ordinary human pleasure of being praised and applauded. - Author: Philip Roth
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#21. Either foreswear fucking others or the affair is over. - Author: Philip Roth
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#22. There was a mattress, discolored and waterlogged, like a cartoon-strip drunk slumped against a pole. - Author: Philip Roth
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#23. In America everything goes and nothing matters, while in Europe nothing goes and everything matters. - Author: Philip Roth
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#24. Is that what eternity is for, to muck over a lifetime's minutiae? Who could have imagined that one would have forever to remember each moment of life down to its tiniest component? - Author: Philip Roth
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#25. Nothing keeps its promise. - Author: Philip Roth
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#26. One price you pay for being taken for a god is the unabated dreaminess of your acolytes. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #571970
#27. As for himself, however hateful life was, it was hateful in a home and not in the gutter. Many Americans hated their homes. The number of homeless in America couldn't touch the number of Americans who had homes and families and hated the whole thing. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #605078
#28. We've sifted through the eight thousand, don't worry about that. And this is the one. This is the murder weapon, no doubt about it."

Then the President has been murdered?"

I cant tell you that right now. But I can assure you that if there has been a murder, this is what did it. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #618759
#29. I came to New York and in only hours, New York did what it does to people: awakened the possibilities. Hope breaks out. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #627091
#30. As far as I can see there is no conquering or exorcising the past with words - words born either of imagination or forthrightness. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #670947
#31. Great artists, as history reveals, have been harshly persecuted time and again by the frightened and ill-educated, - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #712963
#32. But to wish oneself into another's glory, as boy or as man, is an impossibility, untenable on psychological grounds if you are not a writer, and on aesthetic grounds if you are. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #727003
#33. What is so often laughable, in the stories of Kundera's Czechoslovakia, is how grimly serious just about everything turns out to be, jokes and games and pleasure included; what's laughable is how terribly little there is to laugh at with any joy. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #737604
#34. Here in America either it's Faunia Farley or it's Monica Lewinsky! The luxury of these lives disquieted so by the inappropriate comportment of Clinton and Silk! - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #782105
#35. I'm an Obama supporter. And if you're an Obama supporter that means you had a hard time during the Bush years. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #786487
#36. There had to be forces outside. The prayer went, "Lead me not in temptation." If people were not led by others, why was the famous prayer that it was? - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #794214
#37. We live in an age in which the imagination of the novelist is helpless against what he knows he is going to read in tomorrow's newspaper. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #823717
#38. Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not. Any biography is chance, and, beginning at conception, chance - the tyranny of contingency - is everything. Chance is what I believed Mr. Cantor meant when he was decrying what he called God. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #848239
#39. I kept waiting for him to lay bare something more than this pointed unobjectionableness, but all that rose to the surface was more surface - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #851423
#40. Don't tell me he's bisexual! Don't tell me this is more of the guy in the hallway! Don't tell me he wants us to have it off together, Philip Roth fucking Philip Roth! That, I'm afraid, is a form of masturbation too fancy even for me. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #866819
#41. Before that night, I'd had no idea my father was so well suited for wreaking havoc or equipped to make that lightning-quick transformation from sanity to lunacy that is indispensable in enacting the unbridled urge to destroy. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #869950
#42. The book can't compete with the screen. It couldn't compete beginning with the movie screen. It couldn't compete with the television screen and it can't compete with the computer screen I don't think. And now we have all those screens so against all those screens I think the book can't measure up. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #874007
#43. Three generations. All of them growing. The working. The saving. The success. Three generations in raptures over America. Three generations of becoming one with a people. And now with the fourth it had all come to nothing. The total vandalization of their world. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #880262
#44. I was still too much of a fledgling with people to understand that, in the long run, nobody is a picnic and that I was no picnic myself. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #898917
#45. Alvin didn't cry, didn't curse, didn't holler ... He was too far gone to roar on that day or even to crack. Only I did ... Only I cracked, alone, later in the one place in our house where I knew I could go to be apart from the living and all that they cannot not do. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #913347
#46. A Jew without Jews, without Judaism, without Zionism, without Jewishness, without a temple or an army or even a pistol, a Jew clearly without a home, just the object itself, like a glass or an apple. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #920191
#47. The most lethal of manmade explosives can't touch it. Stand in awe not of Communism, my idiot child, but of ordinary, everyday loneliness. On May Day go out and march with your friends to its greater glory, the superpower of superpowers. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #921710
#48. Each book starts from ashes really. I don't feel that I have this to say or that to say or this story to tell or that story to tell, but I want to be occupied with the writing process while I'm living. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #943352
#49. You put too much stock in human intelligence, it doesn't annihilate human nature. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #955793
#50. Old Blotnik had been mumbling so steadily for so many years, Ozzie suspected he had memorized the prayers and forgotten all about God. It - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #988986
#51. It's amazing what lies people can sustain behind the mask of their real faces. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #996393
#52. Religion is the opiate of the people! - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1009909
#53. Many farcical, illogical, incomprehensible transactions are subsumed by the mania of lust. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1055186
#54. America?" said Gamesh, smiling. "Roland, what's American to you? Or me, or those tens of thousands up in the the stands? It's just a word they use to keep your nose to the grindstone and your toes to the line. America is the opiate of the people. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1073989
#55. Can anyone be utterly without thoughtfulness? The answer is yes. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1075072
#56. You know what I've come to realize about you kindly rich liberals who own the world? Nothing is further from your understanding than the nature of reality. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1084077
#57. None of us ate together: my Aunt Gladys ate at five o'clock, my cousin Susan at five-thirty, me at six, and my uncle at six-thirty. There is nothing to explain this beyond the fact that my aunt is crazy. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1126320
#58. When I have a first draft, I have a floor under my feet that I can walk on. And then, especially with the help of the computer, rewriting is so easy to do with the computer, much easier than it used to be with the typewriter. So the books go through numerous drafts. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1143966
#59. Dreams? If only they had been! But I don't need dreams, Doctor, that's why I hardly have them - because I have this life instead. With me it all happens in broad daylight! - Author: Philip Roth
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#60. Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1191661
#61. Why does someone, in the midst of your worst suffering, decide the time has come to drive home, disguised in the form of character analysis, all the contempt they have been harbouring for you for all these years? - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1209650
#62. Everyone becomes a part of history whether they like it or not and whether they know it or not. - Author: Philip Roth
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#63. A nervous, undernourished girl who continually looked down the front of her gown as though there was some sort of construction project going on under her clothes. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1264553
#64. The burden isn't that everything has to be a book. It's that everything can be a book. And doesn't count as life until it is. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1265202
#65. The tragedy of the man not set up for tragedy - that is every man's tragedy. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1267693
#66. My God! The English language is a form of communication! Conversation isn't just crossfire where you shoot and get shot at! Where you've got to duck for your life and aim to kill! Words aren't only bombs and bullets - no, they're little gifts, containing meanings! - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1271960
#67. The question to ask about the writer isn't 'Why does he behave so badly?' but 'What does he gain by wearing this mask? - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1293363
#68. The pleasure isn't in owning the person. The pleasure is this. Having another contender in the room with you. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1302954
#69. Nothing bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material. - Author: Philip Roth
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#70. Would that I were still a ludicrous character in his lousy book! - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1308327
#71. Beyond your dormitories, a world is on fire and you are kindled by underwear. Beyond your fraternities, history unfolds daily - warfare, bombings, wholesale slaughter, and you are oblivious of it all. Well, you won't be oblivious for long! You can be as stupid as you like, can - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1316395
#72. What do you do with the kid who can't read? ... Well, what he did with the kid who couldn't read was to make her his mistress. What Farley did was to make her his punching bag. What the Cuban did was to make her his whore, or one among them
so Coleman believed more often than not. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1317813
#73. Suicide is the role you write for yourself. You inhabit it and you enact it. All carefully staged
where they will find you and how they will find you. But one performance only. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1321437
#74. Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1354316
#75. You're our Marcel Proust, Mr. Zuckerman.
Zuckerman laughed. It wasn't exactly how he saw it. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1368658
#76. He was struck by how lives diverge and by how powerless each of us is up against the force of circumstance. And where does God figure in this? - Author: Philip Roth
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#77. Nothing that befalls anyone is too senseless to have happened. - Author: Philip Roth
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#78. I left the front stoop on Leslie Street, ate of the fruit of the tree of fiction, and nothing, neither reality nor myself, has been the same since. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1510736
#79. I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE IT UP TO A CHILD TO DECIDE TO EAT JESUS. I HAVE THE HIGHEST RESPECT FOR WHATEVER YOU DO, BUT MY GRANDCHILD IS NOT GOING TO EAT JESUS. I'M SORRY. THAT IS OUT OF THE QUESTION. HERE'S WHAT I'LL DO FOR YOU. I'LL GIVE YOU THE BAPTISM. THAT'S ALL I CAN DO FOR YOU. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1535231
#80. You cannot observe people through an ideology. Your ideology observes for you. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1537221
#81. I do not say correct or savory. I do not say seemly or even natural. I say serious. Sensationally serious. Unspeakably serious. Solemnly, recklessly, blissfully serious. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1543607
#82. There was always something about our family, and I don't mean color--there was something about us that impeded you. You think like a prisoner. You do, Coleman Brutus. You're white as snow and you think like a slave. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1553980
#83. What is astonishing is that we, who had no idea how anything was going to turn out, now know exactly what happened. - Author: Philip Roth
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#84. Everything you say says either more than you wanted it to say or less than you wanted it to say; and everything you do does either more than you wanted it to do or less than you wanted it to do. - Author: Philip Roth
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#85. The goal was to have goals, the aim to have aims. This edict came entangled often in hysteria, the embattled hysteria of those whom experience had taught how little antagonism it takes to wreck a life beyond repair. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1633422
#86. It was puzzling to own trees - they were not owned the way a business os owned or even a house is owned. If anything, they were held in trust. In trust. Yes, for all of posterity, ... - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1646090
#87. Any satirist writing a futuristic novel who had imagined a President Reagan during the Eisenhower years would have been accused of perpetrating a piece of crude, contemptible, adolescent, anti-American wickedness, when, in fact, he would have succeeded, as prophetic sentry, where Orwell failed. - Author: Philip Roth
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#88. A Jewish man with his parents alive is half the time a helpless infant! - Author: Philip Roth
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#89. Obviously the facts are never just coming at you but are incorporated by an imagination that is formed by your previous experience. Memories of the past are not memories of facts but memories of your imaginings of the facts. - Author: Philip Roth
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#90. I think you're a wonder. You're beautiful. You're mature. You are, I admit, vastly more experienced than I am. That's what threw me. I was thrown. Forgive me. - Author: Philip Roth
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#91. Oh, to be a center fielder, a center fielder- and nothing more - Author: Philip Roth
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#92. wonderful except when it came to eviscerating chickens. And even that was wonderful in its way, because it was something you did, and did well, that you didn't care to do. So there was a lesson in doing it. And - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1792735
#93. Well, good Christ, how was I supposed to know all that, Hannah? Who looks into the fine points when he's hungry? I'm eight years old and chocolate pudding happens to get me hot. All I have to do is see that deep chocolatey surface gleaming out at me from the refrigerator, and my life isn't my own. - Author: Philip Roth
Philip Roth Quotes #1797561
#94. With the draft, everybody was involved. Everybody was fodder. When you got to be 21, 22 and graduated from college, for two years your life stopped. If you had been running in the direction of your life, you had to stop and do this other thing which was, if not menacing, just plain boring. - Author: Philip Roth
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#95. Look, I've got more personalities than I can use already. All you are is one too many. - Author: Philip Roth
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#96. Seeing is believing and believing is knowing and knowing beats unknowing and the unknown. - Author: Philip Roth
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#97. Others? He dares to call us others? He's the other. The one who looks most American - and he's the one who is least American! The man is unfit. He shouldn't be there. He shouldn't be there, and it's as simple as that! - Author: Philip Roth
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#98. Because history is not the background - history is the stage! And you are on the stage! Oh, how sickening is your appalling ignorance of your own times! - Author: Philip Roth
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#99. Satire is moral outrage transformed into comic art. - Author: Philip Roth
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#100. It's a family joke that when I was a tiny child I turned from the window out of which I was watching a snowstorm, and hopefully asked, Momma, do we believe in winter? - Author: Philip Roth
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