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Top 250 Philip Roth Quotes (2023 Update)
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Philip Roth Quote: “There’s a plot afoot all right, and I’ll gladly name the forces propelling it – hysteria, ignorance, malice, stupidity, hatred, and fear.”
Philip Roth Quote: “A life of writing books is a trying adventure in which you cannot find out where you are unless you lose your way.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding?”
Philip Roth Quote: “There are no uncontaminated angels.”
Philip Roth Quote: “The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It’s getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That’s how we know we’re alive: we’re wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget about being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that – well, lucky you.”
Philip Roth Quote: “At a certain stage of misery, you’ll try anything to explain what’s going on with you, even if you know it doesn’t explain a thing and it’s one failed explanation after another.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Writing turns you into somebody who’s always wrong. The illusion that you may get it right someday is the perversity that draws you on.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Actually we did not have the feelings we said we had until we spoke them – at least I didn’t; to phrase them was to invent them and own them.”
Philip Roth Quote: “You cannot observe people through an ideology. Your ideology observes for you.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Too late, but I understand. That we don’t perish of understanding everything too late, that is a miracle. But we do perish of that – of just that.”
Philip Roth Quote: “It’s best to give while your hand is still warm.”
Philip Roth Quote: “When he is sick, every man wants his mother.”
Philip Roth Quote: “You can no more make someone tell the truth than you can force someone to love you.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I kept waiting for him to lay bare something more than this pointed unobjectionableness, but all that rose to the surface was more surface.”
Philip Roth Quote: “In America everything goes and nothing matters, while in Europe nothing goes and everything matters.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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!”
Philip Roth Quote: “Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I was a biography in constant motion, memory to the marrow of my bones.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Don’t be against yourself. There’s enough cruelty in the world as it is. Don’t make things worse by scapegoating yourself.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Being in the dark from sentence to sentence is what convinces me to go on.”
Philip Roth Quote: “For a pure sense of being tumultuously alive, you can’t beat the nasty side of existence.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Yes, alone we are, deeply alone, and always, in store for us, a layer of loneliness even deeper. There is nothing we can do to dispose of that. No, loneliness shouldn’t surprise us, as astonishing to experience as it may be. You can try turning yourself inside out, but all you are then is inside out and lonely instead of inside in and lonely.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “The danger with hatred is, once you start in on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can’t stop.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Nothing has a more sinister effect on art than the artist’s desire to prove that he’s good. The terrible temptation of idealism!”
Philip Roth Quote: “When the whole world doesn’t believe in God, it’ll be a great place.”
Philip Roth Quote: “It was the first time I saw my father cry. A childhood milestone, when another’s tears are more unbearable than one’s own.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Everything dictated silence and self-control but I couldn’t restrain myself and spoke my mind.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Politics is the great generalizer and literature the great particularizer, and not only are they in an inverse relationship to each other – they are in an antagonistic relationship.”
Philip Roth Quote: “A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until they die!”
Philip Roth Quote: “I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and inhibition and fear.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “You want monogamy outside marriage and adultery inside marriage.”
Philip Roth Quote: “A writer has to be driven crazy to help him to see. A writer needs his poisons.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I know I’m not going to write as well as I used to. I no longer have the stamina to endure the frustration. Writing is frustration – it’s daily frustration, not to mention humiliation.”
Philip Roth Quote: “How can one say, ‘No, this isn’t a part of life,’ since it always is? The contaminant of sex, the redeeming corruption that de-idealizes the species and keeps us everlastingly mindful of the matter we are.”
Philip Roth Quote: “People are unjust to anger – it can be enlivening and a lot of fun.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Literature isn’t a moral beauty contest. Its power arises from the authority and audacity with which the impersonation is pulled off; the belief it inspires is what counts.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I came to New York and in only hours, New York did what it does to people: awakened the possibilities. Hope breaks out.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there’s a paragraph that’s alive.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Like all enjoyable things, you see, it has unenjoyable parts to it.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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!”
Philip Roth Quote: “I have a slogan I use when I get anxious writing, which happens quite a bit: ‘the ordeal is part of the commitment.’ It’s one of my mantras. It makes a lot of things doable.”
Philip Roth Quote: “He’d tell us that in a democracy, keeping abreast of current events was a citizen’s most important duty and that you could never start too early to be informed about the news of the day.”
Philip Roth Quote: “He was no more, freed from being, entering into nowhere without even knowing it. Just as he’d feared from the start.”
Philip Roth Quote: “This is what you know about someone you have to hate: he charges you with his crime and castigates himself in you.”
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