Philip Roth Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 178 quotes)
Conflicting stories continue to circulate concerning the death of the President. A second White House announcement has now called attention to the President's schedule for the day, pointing out that no mention is made there of dying. Also released was the President's schedule for tomorrow, wherein there also appears to be no plan on the part of the President or his advisers for him to die. "I think it would be best," said the White House Bilge Secretary, "in the light of these schcedules, to wait for a statement, one way or another, from the President himself.
Carrying his books from one life into the next was nothing new to Zuckerman. He had left his family for Chicago in 1949 carrying in his suitcase the annotated works of Thomas Wolfe and Roget's Thesaurus. Four years later, age twenty, he left Chicago with five cartons of classics, bought secondhand out of his spending money, to be stored in his parents' attic while he served two years in the Army. In 1960, when he was divorced from Betsy, there were thirty cartons to be packed from the shelves no longer his; in 1965, when he was divorced from Virginia, there were just under sixty to cart away; in 1969, he left Bank Street with eighty-one boxes of books.
That people were manifold creatures didn’t come as a surprise to the Swede, even if it was a bit of a shock to realize it anew when someone let you down. What was astonishing to him was how people seemed to run out of their own being, run out of whatever the stuff was that made them who they were and, drained of themselves, turn into the sort of people they would once have felt sorry for
I was gushing and I knew it. I surprised myself with my eagerness to please, felt myself saying too much, explaining too much, overinvolved and overexcited in the way you are when you're a kid and you think you've found a soul mate in the new boy down the street and you feel yourself drawn by the force of the courtship and so act as you don't normally do and a lot more openly than you may even want to.
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 yourself inside out, but all you are then is inside out and lonely instead of inside in and lonely. My stupid, stupid Merry dear, stupider even that your stupid father, not even blowing up buildings helps. It’s lonely if there are buildings and it’s lonely if there are buildings and it’s lonely if there are no buildings. There is no protest to be lodged against lonelinessnot all the bombing campaigns in history have made a dent in it. The most lethal of manmade explosives can’t touch it. Stand in awe not of Communism, my idiot child, but of ordinary, everyday loneliness.
And it was never but once a year that they were brought together anyway, and that was on the neutral, dereligionized ground of Thanksgiving, when everybody gets to eat the same thing, nobody sneaking off to eat funny stuff--no kugel, no gefilte fish, no bitter herbs, just one colossal turkey for two hundred and fifty million people--one colossal turkey feeds all. A moratorium on the three-thousand-year-old nostalgia of the Jews, a moratorium on Christ and the cross and the crucifixion of the Christians, when everyone in New Jersey and elsewhere can be more passive about their irrationalities than they are the rest of the year. A moratorium on all the grievances and resentments, and not only for the Dwyers and the Levovs but for everyone in America who is suspicious of everyone else. It is the American pastoral par excellence and it lasts twenty-four hours.
Because we don't know, do we? Everyone know? How what happens the way it does? What underlies the anarchy of the train of events, the uncertainties, the mishaps, the disunity, the shocking irregularities that define human affairs? Nobody knows. 'Everyone knows' is the invocation of the clich and the beginning of the banalization of experience, and it's the solemnity and the sense of authority that people have in voicing the clich that's so insufferable. What we know is that, in an unclichd way, nobody knows anything. You can't know anything. The things you know you don't know. Intention? Motive? Consequence? Meaning? All the we don't know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.
Everybody who flashed the signs of loyalty he took to be loyal. Everybody who flashed the signs of intelligence he took to be intelligent. And so he had failed to see into his daughter, failed to see into his wife, failed to see into his one and only mistress—probably had never even begun to see into himself
He is not simply looking into the mirror because he is transfixed by what he sees. Rather, the artist’s success depends as much as anything on his powers of detachment, on de-narcissizing himself… Freud… studied his own dreams not because he was a “narcissist,” but because he was a student of dreams. And whose were at once the least and most accessible of dreams, if not his own?
No matter how much you know, no matter how much you think, no matter how much you plot and you connive and you plan, you're not superior to sex. It's a very risky game. A man wouldn't have two-thirds of the problems he has if he didn't venture off to get fucked. It's sex that disorders our normally ordered lives.
Curiously, the darkness seemed to have something to do with Harriet, Ron's intended, and I thought for a time that it was simply the reality of Harriet's arrival that had dramatized the passing of time: we had been talking about it and now suddenly it was here? just as Brenda's departure would be here before we knew it.
But how will I get out?" And all at once the door was open--and there was Seldon and behind him his mother. "How'd you do that?" I said. "I opened the door," he said. "But how?" He shrugged. "I pushed. I just pushed. It was open all the time." And that was when I began to bawl and Mrs. Wishnow took me in her arms and said, "That's okay. Things like this happen. They can happen to anyone.