Underappreciated: Henry Roth

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For this week’s Underappreciated, New Yorker fiction editor Willing Davidson discusses the life and work of Henry Roth. Roth’s first novel Call it Sleep was first published in 1934 to mixed reviews. However, when it was published again thirty years later, it was a great success: selling over a million copies. Roth didn’t write another novel until the multi-volume Mercy of a Rude Stream came out in the mid-1990s. His final novel An American Type was published posthumously. Davidson assembled it from a stack of nearly 2,000 unpublished pages.


Willing Davidson

Comments [5]

I, too, question whether Roth is not "underappreciated." The American writer who certainly qualifies, however, is Gilbert Sorrentino. Any one of a dozen of his novels would have made a fine subject for this series.

Aug. 13 2011 05:29 PM
gaetano catelli from Greenpernt, Crooklyn

"Call It A Cure for Insomnia"

Jul. 30 2010 11:34 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

I hope your guest didn't mean to leave the impression that James Joyce was in any way antisemitic. Roth may have thought that (and in the cases of Eliot, Pound and Wyndham Lewis he was absolutely right), but Joyce was not antisemitic.

Jul. 28 2010 01:01 PM

My grandfather knew Roth as a teenager and young man, but hadn't had any contact in 60-70 years, until someone saw my grandfather's name mentioned in "Diving Rock." At that point he re-established contact via the publisher; Roth had no idea that my grandfather was still alive , and was happy to hear from him. Roth died not long after.

Jul. 28 2010 12:52 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Looking forward to the interview, but is Henry Roth really "underappreciated"? Seems like reprints, new editions, essays and biographies by and about him appear on a regular basis.

Jul. 28 2010 12:02 PM

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