Philip Roth believed that history is fragile and unpredictable. In this panel discussion, we’ll use Roth’s novels – including American Pastoral, The Plot Against America and I Married a Communist – to explore what it means to think “historically” as a writer. Roth’s deep reading of American history attuned him to the cultural patterns and political forces at play in the push and pull of our evolving democracy, and infused his books with observations and haunting hypotheticals that feel prescient today. With the rise in book-banning, speech-policing and librarian-harassing, this conversation will be a timely reminder of just how tenuous freedom is. Panelists include Darryl Pinckney, Francine Prose, Parul Sehgal and Sean Wilentz.


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