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The New Republic

Philip Roth's Empty Threat: "Burn My Papers"

November 15, 2012

Philip Roth recently made a quiet confession to French magazine Les inRocks: He is retiring from fiction, and his most recent novel, Nemesis (2010), will also be his last. Roth has admitted to attempting to quit fiction at various times in the past. But, at 78, he finally may have something more important on his mind than his oeuvre: his legacy. On that front, Roth attached an addendum to his statement of retirement. He has asked his executors to destroy his archive after his death, saying, “I don’t want my papers lying around … No one has to read them.”

As a student of literature, Roth ought to know better. If he really wants his papers destroyed, he nee

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