Top 100

Top 250 Philip Roth Quotes (2023 Update)
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Philip Roth Quote: “And who’s next, Mr. and Mrs. America, now that the Bill of Rights is no longer the law of the land and the racial haters are running the show.”
Philip Roth Quote: “They recruited the most supple and athletic of the cops to train as mounted policemen, and a small kid could be mesmerized just watching one who’d been lazing majestically down the street stop to write a parking ticket and then lean way over in the saddle so as to place the ticket under the car’s windshield wiper, a physical gesture, if ever there was one, of magnificent condescension to the machine age.”
Philip Roth Quote: “All I can tell you with certainty is that I, for one, have no self, and that I am unwilling or unable to perpetrate upon myself the joke of a self... What I have instead is a variety of impersonations I can do, and not only of myself – a troupe of players that I have internalised, a permanent company of actors that I can call upon when a self is required... I am a theater and nothing more than a theater.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Nothing keeps its promise.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Even when she was dressed up she didn’t look like a chosen person.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “We are immoderate because grief is immoderate, all the hundreds and thousands of kinds of grief.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Of a terrible, the incomprehensible way one’s most banal, incidental, even comical choices archive the most disproportionate result.”
Philip Roth Quote: “That can happen when people die, the argument with them drops away and people so flawed while they were drawing breath that at times they were all but unbearable now assert themselves in the most appealing way, and what was least to your liking the day before yesterday becomes in the limousine behind the hearse a cause not only for sympathetic amusement but for admiration.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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?”
Philip Roth Quote: “And since we don’t just forget things because they don’t matter but also forget things because they matter too much because each of us remembers and forgets in a pattern whose labyrinthine windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint’s, it’s no wonder that the shards of reality one person will cherish as a biography can seem to someone else who, say, happened to have eaten some ten thousand dinners at the very same kitchen table, to be a willful excursion into mythomania.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Purity. Serenity. Simplicity. Seclusion. All one’s concentration and flamboyance and originality reserved for the grueling, exalted, transcendent calling. I looked around and I thought, This is how I will live.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Though I’d never forgotten Alan, I hadn’t uttered his name aloud in the many years since he’d died, back in that decade when it seemed that the greatest menaces on earth were war, the atomic bomb, and polio.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Of course it should not be too surprising to find out that your life story has included an event, something important, that you have known nothing about – your life story is in and of itself something that you know very little about.”
Philip Roth Quote: “There are no reasons. She is obliged to be as she is. We all are. Reasons are in books.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Which only goes to show what everyone learns sooner or later about loss: the absence of a presence can crush the strongest people.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I don’t know anybody. I turn sentences around, and that’s it.”
Philip Roth Quote: “The ending is immense. Tell it plainly”.”
Philip Roth Quote: “If he were around this place as a professor, he could teach ‘Appropriate Behavior in Classical Greek Drama,’ a course that would be over before it began.”
Philip Roth Quote: “One price you pay for being taken for a god is the unabated dreaminess of your acolytes.”
Philip Roth Quote: “There is no protest to be lodged against loneliness – not all the bombing campaigns in history have made a dent in it.”
Philip Roth Quote: “How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination.” Though.”
Philip Roth Quote: “This man did not deal in fairy tales. You could see that as soon as you walked into his office. Schevitz was somebody who liked to be proved right, somebody whose wish to prevail was his vocation.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I have found in my life that I often phone one person when I expect myself, or others expect me, to be phoning someone else; it is what the telephone company calls displacement.”
Philip Roth Quote: “It’s no picnic up there in the egosphere.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Hypergamy. Do you know what it is?” “Never heard of it.” “Bedding women of a superior social class. Desire based on a superior social class.”
Philip Roth Quote: “To be alive, to him, is to be made of memory – to him if a man’s not made of memory, he’s made of nothing.”
Philip Roth Quote: “I am not impressed by the White House!” my father cried, hammering on the table to shut her up after she’d said “the White House” for the fifteenth time. “I am only impressed by who lives there. And the person who lives there is a Nazi.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Why doesn’t she call the cops and get me shipped off to children’s prison, if this is how incorrigible I really am? “Alexander Portnoy, aged five, you are hereby sentenced to hang by your neck until you are dead for refusing to say you are sorry to your mother.” You’d think the child lapping up their milk and taking baths with his duck and his boats in their tub was the most wanted criminal in America.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Everything runs away, beginning with who you are, and at some indefinable point you come to half understand that the ruthless antagonist is yourself.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Why is the smallest thing I do for pleasure immediately illicit – while the rest of the world rolls laughing in the mud! Pig? She ought to see the charges and complaints that are filed in my office in a single morning: what people do to one another, out of greed and hatred! For dough! For power! For spite! For nothing!”
Philip Roth Quote: “Two hundred and sixty miles round-trip, but it was worth it for Drenka’s breasts.”
Philip Roth Quote: “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.”
Philip Roth Quote: “As for God, it was easy to think kindly of Him in a paradise like Indian Hill. It was something else in Newark – or Europe or the Pacific – in the summer of 1944.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Maybe, despite ideology, politics, and history, a genuine catastrophe is always personal bathos at the core. Life can’t be impugned for any failure to trivialize people. You have to take your hat off to life for the techniques at its disposal to strip a man of his significance and empty him totally of his pride.”
Philip Roth Quote: “The accident of a wrong turn had brought me there, and all I did by getting out of the car and entering the cemetery to find her grave was to bow to its impelling force. My mother and the other dead had been brought here by the impelling force of what was, after all, a more unlikely accident–having once lived.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Ma appena desideri appassionatamente una cosa sulla quale non puoi esercitare alcun controllo, sei alla vigilia di una grossa delusione: ti stai preparando a farti mettere in ginocchio.”
Philip Roth Quote: “He has outlived dissatisfaction. This is what remains after the passing of everything, the disciplined sadness of stoicism. This is the cooling. For so long it’s so hot, everything in life is so intense, and then little by little it goes away, and then comes the cooling, and then comes the ashes.”
Philip Roth Quote: “But what affords the one with happiness affords the other with disgust. The interplay, the ridiculous interplay, enough to kill all and everyone.”
Philip Roth Quote: “It did not matter that the idea made no sense. Sabbath’s sixty-four years of life had long ago released him from the falsity of sense.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Emotions, when they’re revved up, don’t change, they’re the same, fresh and raw. Everything passes? Nothing passes. The same emotions are here!”
Philip Roth Quote: “Waarom zou ik behoefte hebben aan een monument in mijn naam terwijl er op straat zo’n feestbanket rondloopt?”
Philip Roth Quote: “That box from which you cannot force your way out. That box in which a twelve-year-old was twelve years old forever.”
Philip Roth Quote: “The profusion of the stars told him unambiguously that he was doomed to die.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Epidemics have a way of spontaneously running out of steam.”
Philip Roth Quote: “Ma, you want to see physical violence done to the Jews of Newark, go to the office of the plastic surgeon where the girls get their noses fixed. That’s where the Jewish blood flows in Essex County, that’s where the blow is delivered – with a mallet! To their bones – and to their pride!”
Philip Roth Quote: “La vejez no es una batalla; la vejez es una masacre.”
Philip Roth Quote: “All of this was why, from Quahsay, I had mailed my four published stories to Lonoff. Felix Abravanel was clearly not in the market for a twenty-three-year-old son.”
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