Reading Philip Roth by Asher Z. Milbauer, Donald G. Watson

By Asher Z. Milbauer, Donald G. Watson

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By Asher Z. Milbauer, Donald G. Watson

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It is a daring essay in which he first documents Kafka's life, largely from the point of view of his 'habit of obedience and renunciation', and then writes an imaginative life of Kafka as the road not taken, of Franz Kafka not dead of tuberculosis and enshrined as a world-wide synonym for modernism, but surviving the war as an unknown Hebrew-school teacher in New Jersey, underpaid, and still practising renunciation. It is told as a reminiscence from the point of view of the child who remembers him as the Czech refugee with the formal bow who courts his spinster Aunt Rhoda, but never marries her.

332-4) The reader is left with the possibility that Peter may become a man and move on beyond the mistakes of the past. Peter may recognise that immaturity may be a transient, passing thing if one wishes it. But the exclamation points and the apostrophe to a force beyond his own vows suggest the conclusion is tenuous. Peter may be changing, he may be growing into himself and 'none other'. May be. The ending of The Professor of Desire is another case in point. This novel was written and published after The Breast, but its action takes 42 Reading Philip Roth place before the hero, David Kepesh, turns into a breast.

16. See Hana Wirth-Nesher, 'The Artist Tales of Philip Roth', Prooftests: A Journal ofJewish Literary History, 3 (1983) pp. 263--72. 4 The Shape of Exile in Philip Roth, or the Part is Always Apart MARTIN TUCKER Recently I took my mother to one of several doctors she is now obliged to visit because of a serious illness. This physician, an eye doctor examining her for damage caused as a result of her diabetic condition, asked her to 'have a good look' at him. ' Her wit broke him up (and surprised me, who had always regarded everything about her as heavy-handed and fingering), and he smiled.

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