Philip Roth – an unreconstructed literary giant

Philip Roth, one of the greats in American literature, is catching the wrath of the current zeitgeist for his out-of-date attitudes to women and sex. Brickbats are being thrown despite him dying three years back, as a weighty new biography details his creative and amorous progress through 31 books, a Pulitzer and numerous other awards, and a string of liaisons.

  Evidently he preferred his sex with a minimum of commitment, domesticity without encumbrance. He cherished privacy and to break the monotony some sexual adventuring. He expected his girlfriends to act like wives and his wives to act like girlfriends.

 Always a controversialist, he hit the big time with his novel Portnoy’s Complaint about extreme masturbation, was notorious in the Jewish community for the shaming and defaming of Jews, for which he was labelled an anti-Semite and a self-hating Jew.

  One reviewer wrote: “No one can accuse Roth of ever hiding who he was: American, Jewish, obsessed with sex, obsessed with death, funny, angry, wise, profane, imaginative, cruel.”

  Born 19 March 1933 1am Newark, New Jersey, with an insurance broker father, he excelled at university and latterly taught creative writing.

  He had a charming and intelligent 3rd house Sun, Venus in Pisces with Mercury in Aries also in the 3rd and Jupiter, Neptune, Mars in Virgo in the 9th – both the 3rd and 9th are the communication houses and the 9th especially would point to a published career. He had an unsettled Uranus in his domestic 4th square a trapped/controlling though influential 8th house Pluto. His Capricorn Moon was square Mercury – perhaps a hint of why he brought so much autobiographical material into his novels. His Moon was also in an angry-against-women trine to Mars and evasive Neptune.

  It’s a curiously untogether chart, perhaps why his emotional life was so disjointed.  Though it pulls together in his creative 5th and 7th Harmonics; and even more so in his Writers’ 21st harmonic which is exceptionally strong.

  He did have an unaspected Saturn in can-be-chilly Aquarius – which would give him an aptitude for solitude, though dent his capacity for self-discipline and organization in certain areas of his life, and lend him a tendency to drift through life without set guidelines.

 His first marriage was short-lived, as was his second to actress Claire Bloom, though he’d had a long live-in relationship with her prior to making a legal commitment. After it split she described him as a mysogynist and control freak, though its unclear what the attraction was. She was born 15 February 1931 and was a Sun and probably Moon in Aquarius with not much in common barring her Venus in Capricorn being conjunct his Moon and her Jupiter in his 7th.

7 thoughts on “Philip Roth – an unreconstructed literary giant

  1. Well its more Moon Mars which is experienced as the angry mother who therefore stifles assertiveness in the child, leading to anger issues with women later on. Moon Neptune is a mother lacking boundaries or tricky to pin down.

    • I can validate this. My mum has the moon/mars and her mother was angry and sometimes violent with her and her siblings. The result is my mother has some questionable misogynistic views. I have moon neptune (as well as other aspects to my moon) and can say with certainty she has lacked boundaries and slides out of responsibilities or taking ownership of her deceitful behaviour. It’s aspects like this that make astrology truthful for me.

    • Yes, I can confirm this, I have Moon/Mars conjunct Mercury and Neptune in the 3rd. My mother was angry, scared and frustrated because she couldn’t cope with my brother’s behavioural issues and had no support from my emotionally absent father. Thus I had to be quiet and have fewer needs, and being a sensitive child I could pick up on her anger. She’s a Pisces with Sun opposition Neotune T-squaring Jupiter in Gemini, so a little head in the clouds, only seeing what she wants to see. I’m not angry with women in general but my mother can press my buttons badly. She has a Sag moon, so tact isn’t her strong point.

      • I have sun Virgo opposite Jupiter Pisces which both square onto Neptune in Sagittarius, which is similar to your mother’s t-square, VF. I can have my head in the clouds and love being in my imagination sometimes, but thankfully (or not, lol) I have my Mars in Virgo conjunct Pluto in Libra which helps me see through to the gritty reality (I think). I was always pointing out what shouldn’t have been much to the chagrin and anger of my dysfunctional family, like the Emperor’s clothes analogy. Don’t know if that was the mars/pluto or my possibly being on the autistic spectrum and blurting stuff out at times.

        My mother has her moon in libra yet she remains misogynistic. I think Marjorie’s view that Libra gives women a more masculine lens (favouring the father, as my mother did even though he was uselessly weak and apathetic) is correct in this instance. She’s typical dysfunctional offspring in which she views her parents as good cop, bad cop. Obviously, women, thanks to my grandmother, are never to be trusted and just conniving witches!

        I’m shockingly pro-women and quite feminist considering my upbringing. I do wonder though how I might have turned out if I had been male. With my mother, I think I would have held a LOT of anger and blamed the female species, as is usually the case in these situations. Oddly, my full-blooded brother leans somewhat to that way, but my younger half-brother who I am close is quite feminist like me and he had a step-mother who physically, emotionally, and mentally abused him throughout his childhood and his dad stood by and did sod all. We didn’t find out until his early 20’s. It’s amazing he holds women in high regard (and such a godsend and a breath of fresh air when so few men speak out in support of women) He’s a sun libra with Sag moon.

        • I was lucky in that both my parents were pro-women, Jo. My mother has Mercury/Mars in Aquarius so she has always had an alternative streak and my father came from a family of educated women. My mother’s mutable T-Square has the positive expression of gifted story-telling and imagination. She also writes poetry (Neptune rising in Virgo in 12th). The mutable cross is important I think in the charts of poets, writers, journalists, communicators, educators, being Mercury and Jupiter-ruled. Both my parents are/were good people though, I was fortunate in that respect.

Leave a Comment