Philip Roth, “Defender of the Faith”

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Upon its publication in The New Yorker of March 14, 1959, “Defender of the Faith” provoked strong criticism from some Jewish organizations and rabbis, who denounced its relatively unknown, twenty-six-year-old author as an anti-Semitic, self-hating Jew. Since then this controversial narrative—collected in Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Best American Short Stories 1960—has become the most frequently reprinted Roth short story and a major work in the Jewish-American literary canon.

“Defender of the Faith” is set on a military base in Missouri during the early summer of 1945, a period when the European war had just ended but the war in the Pacific was still producing appalling American casualties. …

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Citation: Chura, Patrick. "“Defender of the Faith”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 June 2010 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

30478 “Defender of the Faith” 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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