Philip Roth, one of the greats in American literature, is catching the wrath of the current zeitgeist for his out-of-date attitudes to women and sex.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.