philip roth unmasked

John Powers on the PBS documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked that premieres next week:

Here’s a writer who specializes in anger, sarcasm, iconoclasm, dirtiness, atheism, comedy and sexual attitudes that smack of misogyny.

While Philip Roth Unmasked doesn’t completely ignore his dark ferocity, it tiptoes around it. We learn little about his personal life, which was messy enough to prompt his ex-wife, actress Claire Bloom, to spend 150 pages of a book excoriating his manipulative narcissism. Nor do we get much insight into what’s obvious from Roth’s work — his ambition, his princely sense of entitlement, his use of fury as fuel, his tendency toward political sanctimony, his way of seeing women as one big perk of fame.

Image courtesy of PBS