Philip Roth’s earliest short stories scandalized Jewish communities, and in 1969, the bestseller Portnoy’s Complaint proved even more shocking. Roth mocks American political scandal in Our Gang; connects sexual excess and artistic provocation in Sabbath’s Theater; and triangulates political correctness, public shaming, and sexual indiscretion in The Human Stain. Roth’s engagement with scandal extended beyond national boundaries, as evidenced by his efforts to illuminate the work of oppressed writers in 1970s Prague—where literature and art was considered to be politically scandalous by the totalitarian regime. Roth recasts many of his own experiences with scandal in his fiction, examining the state of being scandalized/being considered a scandal in works such as The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Prague Orgy, and Indignation. Submissions to this special issue of Philip Roth Studies might examine theoretical, cultural, historical, and/or literary dimensions of scandal as it features in Roth’s life and work. Paper topics might include (but are not limited to): depictions of Jews; sexual desire; American politics; and the role of artists as both provocateurs and victims.
Submissions are due by September 1, 2020, to Maggie McKinley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guidelines for submissions can be found at: https://www.philiprothsociety.org/contributors