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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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(p.29) One Newark
In History's Grip
Stanford University Press

One of the oldest cities in America, Newark was founded in 1666 by Puritans from Connecticut who wanted to start a new life on new soil. In his three novels, the so-called Newark trilogy—American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998), and The Human Stain (2000)—Philip Roth presents Newark as a riddle that defines everything and yet is a place of metamorphosis itself. The protagonists are set in motion by a moving city, intent on leaving the city. As a riddle, Newark resurfaces (often uninvited) as the unchanging terrain of childhood, in the psychic landscape of its many children who may be far away from New Jersey. In its first four decades, Newark suffered from the Great Depression and World War II, only to recover both industrially and economically, as seen by the construction of a metropolis inhabited by Irish, Italians, Germans, Slavs, Jews, and blacks.

Keywords:   Newark, New Jersey, novels, Newark trilogy, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, The Human Stain, Philip Roth, Jews

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