Philip Roth's Biographer Defends His Subject

Philip Roth's Biographer Defends His Subject
AP Photo, File

When literary biographer Blake Bailey met with author Philip Roth in 2012 he was asked, “Why should a gentile from Oklahoma write the biography of Philip Roth?” Bailey responded, “I’m not a bisexual alcoholic with an ancient Puritan lineage but I still managed to write a biography of John Cheever.” “Cheever: A Life” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. Bailey’s other volumes charted the lives of 20th century lions Richard Yates and Charles Jackson.

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