In a 2010 interview to promote his novel, Nemesis, Philip Roth shares what he’s reading with Scott Raab, alongside his memories of teaching at the University of Pennsylvania
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Philip Roth. Photograph: Steve Pyke.

Roth’s talking about his reading these days, revisiting a revered Russian master of the nineteenth century, Ivan Turgenev.

Fathers and Sons is a great book — there’s a new translation of it. I think it’s called Fathers and Children now, and the translation is wonderful. And there are several long short stories that are pearls. One is called ‘The Torrents of Spring’ or ‘Spring Torrents,’ which is a masterpiece, and the other — which is beyond masterpiece — is called ‘First Love.’ Read those two things.”

Roth chortles with something like delight. He stopped teaching twenty or so years ago but still seems as if he’d fit in on any campus in any decade. It’s not only his outfit — tan slacks, blue-and-white-checked shirt with the sleeves rolled loosely up his skinny forearms, brown walking shoes — but also his easy passion for those writers who’ve nourished his soul. (more…)