Letting Go: the Curious Case of Philip Roth’s Mature Immaturity
Ivan Dimitrov. Letting Go (And Letting Thou): The Curious Case of Philip Roth’s Mature Immaturity. Научно списание "Филология" бр. 34/2018. София 2018. Ред. Мадлен Данова. Университетско издателство. "Св. Климент Охридски", с. 22-43; ISSN 0204-8779
Philip Roth’s legacy (he passed away in May 2018) has been largely underappreciated. Throughout his literary career, he strove to attain the truth about the human predicament. Though strictly secular in his concerns and methods of investigation, Roth professes a message which in its essence is inherently spiritual, an injunction which he chose for his first full length novel: Letting Go. A careful analysis of his oeuvre reveals what Roth admonished his readers to let go of: life’s defenses. The self naturally erects around itself a panoply of strategic defenses whose aim is to further the programmatic individualistic project. Roth proves, however, that these strategies are counterproductive: instead of furthering the development of the self, they block its growth and potential, rendering the self a mere shadow of what it could be. When deployed, the self’s defenses turn it into an object, rather than the yearned-for subject. This paper will review four novels of Philip Roth. Two theoretical approaches will be employed in the analysis- Martin Buber’s I and Thou and Tzvetan Todorov’s Human and Interhuman.
Letting go, defenses, individuality