Philip Roth was born in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, the child of first-generation Jewish Americans. He grew up in the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark and attended Weequahic High School, followed by college at Bucknell and graduate studies at the University of Chicago. Earning an M.A. in English literature from Chicago, Roth taught briefly in the university's writing program before going on to teach at the University of Iowa, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Roth's first book, a novella and short story collection titled Goodbye, Columbus, earned him immediate critical respect, winning the National Book Award in 1960. He then published two novels, Letting Go (1962) and When She Was Good (1967), but
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