Philip Roth Presents

Naturally, Nextbook has flooded the zone on Philip Roth’s new novel, Indignation. The site is following assessments of the book in its Filter, the Los Angeles TimesDavid J. Ulin contributes his own lengthy (middling) review, and there’s an interesting piece by Josh Lambert on how a rarely read early Roth story, “The Contest for Aaron Gold,” became a rarely seen episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The article points out that almost from the start, Roth wasn’t much for visual adaptations of any literary work, let alone his:

In 1957 and 1958, Roth wrote biting appraisals in The New Republic of two flashy adaptations of classic Ernest Hemingway novels. He lampooned The Sun Also Rises (1957), starring Ava Gardner and Tyrone Power, by reviewing it in the form of a Hemingway parody (“Until they get to Spain it is a bad conversation piece. It is very slow until Spain”). A few months later he dismissed David O. Selznick’s A Farewell to Arms (1957) as “a spiritless, silly, and . . . embarrassing movie,” noting that Hemingway’s novelistic achievements would be “impossible . . . for a camera to convey.” Long before producers started banging on his door, before Richard Benjamin became Neil Klugman and Portnoy’s Complaint fetched $350,000 for its film rights, Roth had concluded that movies were irrelevant to his literary work, a notion made explicit years later when he told a producer, who had asked him what sort of involvement he wanted to have in the film adaptation of The Human Stain, that all he cared about was that the check cleared.

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