Zuckerman Bound: A Trilogy & Epilogue 1979–1985
The Ghost Writer • Zuckerman Unbound • The Anatomy Lesson • The Prague Orgy •
previously unpublished television screenplay for The Prague Orgy
"The work of [Roth's] middle years was frequently magnificent, as anyone will acknowledge who even dips into The Library of America's new single-volume edition of four of the Zuckerman books."
—John Banville, The London Review of Books
This fourth volume of The Library of America's definitive edition of Philip Roth's collected works presents the trilogy and epilogue that constitute Zuckerman Bound (1985), Roth's wholly original investigation into the unforeseen consequences of art—mainly in libertarian America and then, by contrast, in Soviet-suppressed Eastern Europe—during the latter half of the twentieth century.
The Ghost Writer (1979) introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the Great Books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his literary idol, E. I. Lonoff.
Zuckerman Unbound (1981) finds him far from Lonoff's domain—the scene is Manhattan as the sensationalizing 1960s are coming to an end. Zuckerman, in his mid-thirties, is suffering the immediate aftershock of literary celebrity. The high-minded protégé of E. I. Lonoff has become a notorious superstar.
The Anatomy Lesson (1984) takes place largely in the hospital isolation ward that Zuckerman has made of his Upper East Side apartment. It is Watergate time, 1973, and to Zuckerman the only other American who seems to be in as much trouble as himself is Richard Nixon. Zuckerman, at forty, is beset with crippling and unexplained physical pain; he wonders if the cause might not be his own inflammatory work.
In The Prague Orgy (1985), entries from Zuckerman's notebooks describing his 1976 sojourn among the outcast artists of Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia reveal the major theme of Zuckerman Bound from a new perspective that provides the stinging conclusion to this richly ironic and intricately designed magnum opus. As an added feature, this volume publishes for the first time Roth's unproduced television screenplay for The Prague Orgy, featuring new characters and scenes that do not appear in the novella.
Ross Miller, volume editor, is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of American Apocalypse: The Great
Fire and the Myth of Chicago and Here's the Deal: The Buying and Selling of a Great American City.
Other volumes in the Library of America Philip Roth edition:
Novels and Stories 1959–1962
Novels & Other Narratives 1986–1991
The American Trilogy 1997–2000
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