patterns” confirms and authorizes an already entrenched and diffused reading habit revolving around Nathan Zuckerman’s alleged sameness. I have not been able3 to find a critic who does not take for granted Nathan Zuckerman’s sameness across different books.
Zuckerman is variously treated as “Roth’s enduring fictional alter-ego” (Shostak, Countertexts 3), as his “enduring protagonist” (Royal, New Perspectives 3). The books in which he appears are defined as “the Zuckerman saga” (Wilson A. 115), or, repeatedly, as “the Zuckerman series.” There is a “Zuckerman era” and there are “pre-Zuckerman books” (Spargo, “How Telling” 253, 252). The biography section of the Philip Roth Society’s website recites: “Each [book of the American trilogy] is chronicled by an older Zuckerman, no longer the mischievous and sexually-adventurous young writer he once was” (emphasis mine). By way of exemplification of this reading habit, consider Shostak’s words: “What if a young writer seeks his voice in his literary forefathers (Nathan Zuckerman in The Ghost Writer)? What if that writer finds himself bewildered by success (Zuckerman Unbound )? What if he must pay for his success (The Anatomy Lesson)?” (Countertexts 6; emphasis mine) or Shechner’s “Nathan Zuckerman who, in American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain, ventures out of his country bungalow, like some secluded and agoraphobic Studs Terkel, just long enough to hear someone else’s life story and take his feverish notes, and then scurries back inside to get it all down on the page while the news is still hot” (22). Both postulate the possibility and the critical advisability of following Zuckerman across books and years. The articles and book chapters presenting some of the Zuckerman books seen together in this way are innumerable. How profoundly and unfailingly Nathan Zuckerman is taken to be the same character, reappearing and growing book by book, is attested by a special issue of the authoritative Philip Roth Studies, titled “Mourning Zuckerman.” In her introductory remarks, guest coeditor Aimee Pozorski wrote: “we as readers of Roth’s best work, beginning with his 1979 novel The Ghost Writer—that is to say, we as readers who have lived with Zuckerman for 25 years—feel intensely the loss of the character who, following the 2007 novel Exit Ghost, allegedly will