I read my first Roth novel during the Louisville Summer Institute on Contemporary American Literature in 2005. The Human Stain was part of a very diverse syllabus spanning authors such as DeLillo, Pynchon, Kinston, and Gómez Peña, to name just a few. Retrospectively thinking about that first encounter, I now realize that arriving at Roth neither via Jewish American writers nor via his embattled and contested relationship with his Jewish community but instead through one of the masterpieces from his late phase has paved the way for my reading of his oeuvre and ultimately for this work––Roth came to me first and foremost as “a stylist” (Brauner’s term), as a master of narrative form.
I am aware that a number of excellent general book-length treatments of Roth’s oeuvre are now available. I hope that in narrowing the scope of inquiry to the Zuckerman books and in approaching them with an eminently narratological perspective, this book might provide a somewhat original contribution to the study of Roth’s work.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention all those who have accompanied me along the way to completion of this project. Alide