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In History's GripPhilip Roth's Newark Trilogy$
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Michael Kimmage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781824

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781824.001.0001

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Leaving

Leaving

Chapter:
(p.63) Two Leaving
Source:
In History's Grip
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804781824.003.0003

In Philip Roth's Newark trilogy—American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998), and The Human Stain (2000)—there is no discreet moment of departure. There is no packing of bags, or train leaving the station, or hand waving goodbye. In other words, leaving Newark is a natural and liberating experience. America rewards leaving or does not seem to punish those who leave. Roth's three protagonists leave to embrace America, not to liberate themselves from it. In a lot of ways, the Newark trilogy is haunted by Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, where Ishmael, the melancholic New Yorker, embarks on a long journey. Two other novels by Roth, Sabbath's Theater and Goodbye, Columbus, also deal with leaving, while William Shakespeare's drama Julius Caesar is an anachronistic, illuminating commentary on the Newark trilogy.

Keywords:   Philip Roth, Newark trilogy, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, The Human Stain, departure, Newark, America, novels, William Shakespeare

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