Philip Roth and America's Inexplicable War: Situating The Human Stain and American Pastoral within the Vietnam Canon

Carlie Sorasiak

Abstract


Although Philip Roth's American Pastoral (1997) and The Human Stain (2000) broadly situate Roth within the Vietnam literary canon, his relatively late publishing dates illustrate a markedly unique approach to a victor-less, mission deficient war that is notoriously complicated to represent. Most importantly, Roths portrayal of the wars domestic reality reflects the canons morphing trajectory, away from the straight-forward platoon novel and towards allegorical representation. This essay first examines the earlier Vietnam canon and then explicates how Roth domesticizes and mythologizes the war, specifically through his illustrations of Merry in American Pastoral and Lester in The Human Stain.

Keywords


Philip Roth; Vietnam War; Allegory

Full Text:

PDF

References


Works Cited

Roth, Philip. American Pastoral. London: Vintage Books, 1997.

--------. I Married a Communist. London: Vintage, 1999.

--------. Indignation. London: Jonathan Cape, 2008.

--------. Our Gang (Starring Tricky and his friends). London: Cape, 1971.

--------. Reading Myself and Others. London: Jonathan Cape, 1975.

--------. The Facts: A Novelists Autobiography. London: Vintage, 2007.

--------. The Human Stain. London: Vintage Books, 2000.

Ankersmit, Frank. The Sublime Historical Experience. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Caruth, Cathy. Trauma: Explorations in Memory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Coming Home. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Jane Fonda, Jon Voight and Bruce Dern. RKO,

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. London: Flamingo, 1984.

Errington, Elizabeth Jane & B.J.C. McKercher (eds.). The

Vietnam War as History. London: Praeger, 1990.

Felman, Shoshana and Dori Laub. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature,

Psychoanalysis and History. London: Routledge, 1992.

Finkielkraut, Alain and Philip Roth. The Ghosts of Philip Roth. Conversations with

Philip Roth. Ed. George J. Searles. London: University of Mississippi Press, 1992. 120-130.

Gooblar, David. The Major Phases of Philip Roth. London: Continuum, 2011.

Greenberg, Martin H. & Augustus Richard Norton (eds.).

Touring Nam: The Vietnam

War Reader. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.

Heinemann, Larry. Pacos Story. London: Faber and Faber, 1979.

Herr, Michael. Dispatches. London: Picador, 1997.

Hunt, Michael (ed.). A Vietnam War Reader: American and

Vietnam Perspectives.

London: Penguin Books, 2010.

Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. London: Century Publishing, 1983.

Le, T.N and A. Johansson. Impact of chemical warfare with agent orange on womens

reproductive lives in Vietnam: a pilot study. Reprod Health Matters 18 (2001): 156-64.

Lee, Hermione. Philip Roth. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1982.

Lin, Maya. Making the Memorial. The New York Review of Books 02 Nov. 2000

Lyons, Bonnie. Philip Roths American Tragedies. Turning Up the Flame: Philip Roths Later Novels. Eds. Jay L. Halio and Ben Siegel. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005. 125-130.

MacPherson, Myra. Long Time Passing: Vietnam and The Haunted Generation. London:

Sceptre, 1988.

Mailer, Norman. The Armies of the Night. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968.

-------. Why Are We in Vietnam? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Mason, Bobbie Ann. In Country. London: Chatoo & Windus, 1986.

Moore, Lorrie. The Wrath of Athena. The New York Times 7 May 2000

OBrien, Tim. In the Lake of the Woods. London: Flamingo, 1995.

--------. The Things They Carried. London: Flamingo, 1991.

ONan, Stewart. The Names of the Dead. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.

ONan, Stewart (ed.). The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of American Fiction and Nonfiction on the War. New York: Anchor, 1998. Kindle Edition. Pozorski, Aimee. Roth and Trauma: The Problem of History in the Later Works (1995-

.London: Continuum, 2011. Kindle Edition.

Rabe, David, Sticks and Bones: A Play in Two Acts. London: Samuel French, Inc., 1972.

First Blood (Rambo). Dir. Sylvester Stallone. Perf. Sylvester Stallone. RKO, 1982. Raskin, Marcus G. & Bernard B. Fall (eds.). The Viet-Nam Reader: Articles and Documents on American Foreign Policy and the Viet-Nam Crisis. New York: Random House, 1965.

Roberts, Nora Ruth. Bobbie Ann Mason and Philip Roth: Two Great-American Novel Concept Piece in One Big Picture. Shofar 19:1 (2000): 100-VIII.

Royal, Derek Parker. Pastoral Dreams and National Identity in American Pastoral and I Married a Communist. Philip Roth: New Perspectives on an American Author. Ed.Derek Parker Royal. London: Praeger, 2005. 185-207.

Schechner, Mark. Roths American Trilogy. The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth. Ed.Timothy Parrish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 142-157.

Schroeder, Eric James. Vietnam, Weve All Been There: Interviews with American

Writers.London: Praeger, 1992.

Shostak, Debra B. Philip Roth: Countertexts, Counterlives. Columbia, S.C.: University of

South Carolina Press, 2004.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

The Deer Hunter. Dir. Michael Cimino. Perf. John Peverall, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken. RKO, 1978.

Vietnam War with Walter Cronkite. Perf. Walter Cronkite. RKO, 1985.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c)



Postgraduate English is hosted by Durham University, Department of English Studies, UK. Unless otherwise specified, all articles published from 2000-2011 inclusive are copyright Durham University. All articles published from 2012 onwards are copyright of the author(s). All articles from 2012 onwards are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 licence.

Please view the privacy notice for details on how we process your personal data: Privacy Notice.

ISSN: 1756-9761

Durham University