The Human Stain (PDF)

Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye eIal scientists they only have their imaginations and hunches they can describe these fascinating screwed up people and they can hypothesize but they make it clear we re all unknowable at some deep level Even when he finds out all he can know to inform his telling of Silk s story the novel he writes The Human Stain Zuckerman says Now that I knowverything it was though I knew nothing RothWe look at others we look at the world and what we are left with is mystery or a set of them but Shaming Censors of Academic Speech A Pox on the PC PoliceMy favorite Roth novel I will miss the lusty old tale hound I m very depressed how in this country you can be told That s offensive as though those two words constitute an argument Christopher HitchensColeman Silk a professor of classics at a local steemed college has been accused of racism by two African American students in one of his classes after he notices upon calling roll that these two nrolled students never attend his class and mumbles Do they xist or are they spooks Roth brilliantly Hey Roth I know you have a great vocabularyJust tell me a damn story Let me xplain I just read a very positive review of this book stating that Roth has such an Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild expansive vocabulary andvery word seems painstakingly chosen Hard Bread (Phoenix Poets etc That isxactly what I hate about this book A narrative is supposed to flow not make you resolve to study the dictionary fastidiously For the record I have a pretty good vocabulary and I thorouoghly Electromyography for Experimentalists enjoy creative uses of the English language But I despise the use of overly academic deliberately highbrow language when something simple would tell the story better The problem is NOT that I didn t understand this book it is that the plot just does not flow at all I really dislike this book It looks as though this is a pretty unpopular opinion but oh well See I was annormous fan of the Tony Hopkins Nicky Kidman film already But incredibly that adapatation was just the tip of an iceburg so rich complex incredible that is Philip Roth s masterpiece The Human Stain The film fails oh so miserably to fulfill at least 40% of the Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100 emotional clout which is significant and HEAVVVY famously attributed to this a gargantuan beauty of a bookIt seems that this late in the year the magic wand waved by Literature is constantly and repeatedly still dabbing this dreary moment of living history with its good work I ve read at least four sure MASTERPIECES this year 2010 not so bad after allRoth meshes history with modern tragedy parallels that with the goings on of a disgraced college professor the torrid love affair is placed in the backdrop the national consciousness is the Theme as is the sadness in people living or pretending to live in modern times I fell in LOVE with this book difficult academic and witty for its dimension and its crisp flavor All characters are worthy of at least a few tears for Roth has so faithfully captured how the country fucks people over and over over and how the price of freedom means the loss of something perhaps asually importantIf the film is above average then the novel a modern Bovary sue tale with so much personality and imbedded tragedy in it to make it worthy of a faithful readership for the decades that are to come so modern and CLASSIC it is is uite simply no joke FLAW LESS The ClintonLewinski scandal all but forgotten and perhaps its important to notice too that that disgrace though not uite so far long ago has been already buried under so many others Here s what I know if a book features some old dude fucking some younger lady check the author s age 100% of the time he s the same age as the old dudeThe younger woman will be vulnerable She will be attracted to the older man s security and wisdom There is a power imbalance and it s basically the same thing as when Tarzan saves Jane from the lion It s mbarrassing immature wish fulfillment And Runaway Wedding even when it s written very well it s boring This book is occasionally written very well but it also has the young lady dancing naked for like 20 pages while she babbles about free love Oh I see you Coleman I could give you away my whole life and still have you Just by dancing Good luck getting through that bullshit It suuuucksAnd you ve heard this story before Old guys complain that no one wants to read old guy authors It s not because we re politically correct It s because old men can t shut up about their penises and it s boring Thentire canon as it was agreed on at some point by a bunch of old guys and their boring penises is full of stories like this Coleman Silk in The Human Stain is one of those old guys He s the worst kind of college professor the kind who tells you how to read a book Fossilized pedagogy as a character we re not supposed to agree with calls it Fuck you it s my fucking book I ll decide how to read it If I decide to take a feminist perspective on Euripides then that s what happens Euripides can take care of himselfSilk is also of Euripides then that s what happens Euripides can take care of himselfSilk is also of American descent he s been passing as white his ntire life been passing as white his ntire life he s disgraced by an unfortunately timed use of the word spook This is the one sentence plot of the book guy accused of racism is secretly black It sounds interesting but the problem is that Philip Roth thinks it s a metaphor for himselfHe thinks it s a metaphor because he keeps getting accused of being an asshole All his life people have called Philip Roth all sorts of names Misogynist La heredera del mar even anti Semite Roth is Jewish He keeps getting accused of believing what his characters say It s not me he complains The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters orven in their introspection he insists but in the plight he has invented for his insists but in the plight he has invented for his uite The plight he has invented here is a young lady s vagina Of course Philip Roth isn t Coleman Silk He s his pimp All he d ver wanted from arliest childhood on as to be free not black not ven white just on his own and free He meant no insult to no one by his choice nor was he trying to irritate anyone whom he took to be his. Etractores Su secreto scondido durante cincuenta años a sposa familiares y amigos servirá al scritor Nathan Zuckerman para reconstruir la biografía desconocida de Silk y ntender cómo puede llegar a desenmarañarse una ficción de vida tan ingeniosamente armada. ,


The Human StainThe danger with hatred is once you start in on it you get a hundred times than you bargained for Once you start you can t stop Philip Roth The Human StainReading Roth is almost a spooky sexual xperience I say that knowing this will sound absurd trite and probably hyperbolic But with Roth his words are imbued with an almost carnal power a spectral courage Xenophon And His World (Historia Einzelschriften) energy and life IT is like watching an absurdly talented musician do things with an instrumentwith sound that bends thedge of possible Reading Roth I can understand how the audience in Paganini s time wanted to burn the man for witchcraft feared the man for his deal with the Devil I m not sure who Roth sold his soul to but Roth s run of Novels Operation Shylock 1993 Sabbath s Theater 1995 American Pastoral 1997 I Married a Communist 1998 The Human Stain 2000 can only be thought of as the greatest run of novels A masterfully architected tale about race shame violence and remembrance The Human Stain is definitely one of Roth s masterpieces From its first pages the reader is drawn into the mystery of Coleman Silky Silk n Silkzweig and his tragic downfall The characters here are vibrant and real the descriptions terrifying at times but always captivating I found it hard putting this book down as I was relentlessly driven to want to know what happened the mark of truly great writing If you have never read Roth you can safely start with this one or American Pastoral and you will definitely want I just watched the movie from 2003 starring Anthony Hopkins as Coleman Nicole Kidman as Faunia Gary Sinise as Zuckerman and Ed Harris as Les It is a wonderful and accurate rendition of the book for the silver screen It can be watched before or after reading the book but The author sums it up perfectly on page 81You area a verbal master of Geography of the Gaze: Urban and Rural Vision in Early Modern Europe extroadinary louatiousnessP Roth So Perspicatios So fluent A vocal master of thendless ostentatious overelaborate sentenceYup This book is the Jackson Pollock of our literary time Just spatter Groove: An Aesthetic of Measured Time everything all over the page and call it art Roth goes on and on by usingvery single adjective he ver learned in his SAT class in a row then completely counters very argument he just made so he can use all the opposite words he knows ITs OBNOXIOUS I ve read reviews about how Forgetful of Their Sex each word seems painstakingly chosen Its painful alright for the reader I don t think the author made any choices TO choose the implies you would select one word or phrase to thexclusion of another He uses ALL OF THEM This guy is the master of the tripple negative You are not so unshrewed as not to know it p195 but not uite as good at it as he is at using Naturally Naughty Wicked Willing ellipses dashes and commas to create anntire page of run on sentence that is none the less gramatically correct and here the real skill its also pointless He makes Melville seem to the point and full of rich coloiolism and contemporary dialect he goes on for a full page to discuss a scene he has already F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby earlier described about milking cows he usesvery verb and adjective that can ven be remotely related to a cow then proceeds to contradict himself as he does often just to put in words negate the meaning of the word immidiately preceeding it just to put in words negate the meaning of the word immidiately preceeding it relate it to sex and subjugation the human and bovine the highly differentiated and the all but undifferentiated to live not merely to ndure but to live to go on taking feeding milking acknowleging wholeharetedly the nigma that it is the pointless meaningfulness of living all was recorded as real by tens of thousands of minute impressions The sensory fullness the copiousness the abundant superabundant detail of life which is the rhapsodyBULLSHIT Pointless meaninfullness Full copious abundantand then we needed superabundant as if his point in unclear Well his point is unclear This is the rhapsody What rhapsody I dont know if he s trying to show off or insult me like I dont he s trying to show off or insult me like I dont what the first three mean or maybe I have to read it three oh wait no 4 times to get the point What is this a 9th grad vocab test You re kidding righthow about this crapStunned by how little he d gotten over her and she d gotten over him he walked away understanding as outside his reading in classical Greek drama he d never had to understand before how asily a life can be one thing rather than another and how accidentally a destiny is made on the other hand how accidental fate may seem when things can never turn out other than they do That is he walked away understanding nothing knowing he could understand nothing though with the illusion that he WOULD have metaphysically understood somthing of mormous importance about the stubborn determination of his to become his own man if only such things were understandableI m pretty sure in this case the author meant to convey the character s confusion but I m too confused to say for sure The author is so obnoxios he regularly references characters from Euripides by name only do you know anyone familiar with the characters of Euripides ancient greek plays How about Aschenback and Tadzio Herodotus How about some general concepts Most people know thos pathos logos but how aboutThe difference between diegesis and mimesis He seems to be trying to satorize his characters in the book to make them seem obnoxious overeducated and socially innept secretly insecure which reuires they blather on dropping names and fancy words It works xcept that its not just one or two characters He does it constantly himself in the authors own narration as if his point wasnt already so obfuscated you have to go back through 2 pages six dashes a dozen commas a hanful of llipses to find where the sentence begins and remember what he was talking about Philip Roth dealing with serious topics at this noveldiscrimination shame identity and judging othersthe human between the truth rumors and illusionshow hard to truly know someoneand how hard to live in a circle of lying and anger lying to be accepted in a discriminatory community and being angry for doing so I read Roth s Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy s Com. «Una maravillosa historia donde coexisten Tempting Fate el coraje y la decadencia la mentira yl pundonor la necesidad y l fracaso» José María Guelbenzu BabeliaEn l verano de 1998 One Giant Leap el doble azote del puritanismo y la corrección política recorre Estados Unidos a causa dels. Plaint in college and loved them They were funny Apocalyptic Cartography especially in depicting the lusts and lives of young men with literary flair But I didn t read him again for no particular reason until relatively recently Maybe it was something to do with my feeling tired of reading the same Roth main character book after book an aggressive male consumed by lust But then I happened to read the non fiction Patrimony about his relationship with his father and The Plot Against America a dark fantasy about a possible past where we choose a fascist dictator in the thirties instead of FDR and I thought maybe I d take a closer look at his work again And now having completed his Nathan Zuckerman trilogy beginning with the much acknowledged masterpiece American Pastoral which I loved and I Married a Communist which I also came to like very much I see the greatness of this trilogy which like the Plot Against America has to do with its attention to the sweep of twentieth century American history with some central social issues ofach period xamined in the context of often deeply flawed characters It s also about Roth s use of language at once visceral and muscular and startlingly honest in places and often than not lyrical at the same time And talk All the characters talk or think like they re talking in grand sometimes manic fashion Epic verbal sparring and reflectionThe Human Stain took its time for me to warm up to but grew on me and then nded with me shouting hurrah as it concluded It s the story of three interlocking tragic stories New England Athena College Classics professor and Dean Coleman Silk who is forced out of his job at age 69 for supposed racist comments about two students his 34 year old girlfriend Faunia Farley whom he takes up with after his wife dies of complications from a stroke and her A Bride for McCain ex a PTSD riddled Vietnam vetach of them finally at least somewhat understandable if not completely sympathetic but morally culpable and doomed by their own terrible mistakes It s primarily the story of Silk and his secrets and lies but Heart and Soul / Almost Heaven especially of one central secret which led to terrible mistakes he made in the context of America s racial past and present The legacies of racism and war and shame are at the heart of this book how you can never really get free of them You do some bad things and you pay and pay for them no matter what good you may doThe inciting impulse for the novel set in 1998 but only part of its motivation finally is the Clinton Impeachment trial and on one level the book is anxamination of all that sexual sanctimony through the lens of secrets and lies and the rest of us speculating about all public scandals as most of us typically do Are they really doing it What positions do they use Who s using whom Should we impeach a guy for that We all watched what I and my friends thought then were ludicrous proceedings the nd of the sexual revolution being televised with all these hypocrites pointing fingers at him so we wouldn t point at them It was the summer in America when the nausea returned when the joking didn t stop when the speculation and the theorizing and the hyperbole didn t stop Roth on the Clinton impeachment trial which became of national interest but also on Silk s affair with Faunia which becomes a small town scandal that same summerThis book can make you uncomfortable When Zuckerman and Silk Joke Crudely About The Clinton Lewinsky joke crudely about the Clinton Lewinsky it s funny but there are no filters here No filters ither when the damaged and abusive Farley threatens to xplode about the draft dodger slick Willie getting off free when so many Vets died in the jungle so he could get what he got from than just Monica Lewinsky These are all deeply flawed screwed up people but they are never uninteresting The two men Silk and Fawley are driven by rage by hatred for what has happened to them Silk is pushed out of his position on the faculty because of something he said that people mistakenly assume is racist and during this period his wife has a stroke and dies so he is nraged about all that Fawley is angry and bitter about his xperiences in Nam but The danger with hatred is once you start in on it you get a hundred times than you bargained for Once you start you can t stop RothThis book is not just about gossip about who s doing what to whom sexually though It s also about racial secrets Does that white guy look a little bit black Could he be passing for white If so what are we going to do about that Because we need these classifications for some reason it seems And what if you were technically black but looked white would you choose to say you were black to be true to that legacy or would you say you were white so you could asily achieve the American Dream You read this Novel In Part About Race Through The in part about race through the of an Obama birther story the light skinned Kamala Harris the Native American controversy around Elizabeth Warren and so on The continuing national obsession with race and colorWhen I was done I thought that Zuckerman was to Silk as Nick Carraway is to Gatsby albeit a cruder visceral NickGatsby combo Here Zuckerman Speaks Of What He Imagines To Be Silk S speaks of what he imagines to be Silk s To become a new being To bifurcate The drama that underlies America s story the high drama that is upping and leaving and the nergy and cruelty that rapturous drive demands Sounds a little like Gatsby rightThe stories we read of Silk and Faunia and Fawley are stories told by writer Zuckerman so we meta fictionally reflect through the telling on the way any novelist s imagination can work its magic But Zuckerman makes it clear that neither the novelist nor any of his readers when we are done with this story will have any really deep insights into human nature beyond this There is truth and then again there is truth For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they ve got you or your neighbor figured out there really is no bottom to what is not known The truth about us is ndless As are the lies RothZuckerman and Roth as novelists are not preachers they are not soc. Cándalo Lewinski Coleman Silk un viejo catedrático de una peueña universidad de Nueva Inglaterra se ve obligado a jubilarse cuando sus colegas lo acusan de racista Lo asombroso del dictamen A Love To Remember es ue la verdad sobre Silk podría acallar hasta al más virulento de sus