Reading Myself and Others

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Reading Myself and Others
Reading Myself - Roth.jpg
Reading Myself and Others first edition cover
Author Philip Roth
Language English
Subject Literature, writing
Genre Non-fiction anthology
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
January 1, 1975
Media type Print
Pages 270 pp (1st ed.)
ISBN 0-374-24753-6

Reading Myself and Others (1975) is an anthology of essays, interviews and criticism by the author Philip Roth. The first half of the book is built mainly upon Roth's assessment of his own published works at the time of the anthology's publication. The second half of the volume consists of essays and introductions by Roth about other authors. Many of the essays were occasioned by the abrupt fame and scrutiny[citation needed] which came to Roth upon the publication of his storm-provoking fourth novel, Portnoy's Complaint (1969).[1] In the "Author's Note", Roth writes that the selections in the book "are largely the by-products of getting started as a novelist, and then of taking stock."[2]

Reading Myself includes interviews of Roth conducted by other authors as well as several essays in which Roth attempts to answer some of the critics of his early works. Among the interviews, one was conducted by the author Joyce Carol Oates about Roth's novel The Breast (1972). Appropriate to the book's title, Roth even conducts a self-interview about the origins and intentions of his work. Reading Myself also includes a letter that Roth wrote, but never sent, to the literary critic Diana Trilling in response to her dismissive review of Portnoy's Complaint;[3] Trilling found Portnoy "lacking", but Roth found Trilling's reasoning as lacking too.[4][5]


  1. ^ Brauner (2005), p.47
  2. ^ Roth, Philip (1975). Reading Myself and Others. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-24753-6. 
  3. ^ Roth's letter to Trilling, dated July 27, 1969, was also published in literary magazine Five Dials, in Number 9: The Fiction Issue, as An Interruption: Writer vs Critic #4, pp.34-6
  4. ^ Diana Trilling (1969) The uncomplaining homosexuals, Harper's Magazine, August 1969
  5. ^ Wyatt Mason (2008) Weekend Read: Roth’s (Justified) Complaint, or “Document Dated July 27, 1969”, Harper's Magazine, June 2008