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Sampling Philip Roth

6 Jul

Philip Roth’s laughter and “Jewish shouting” has been sampled by writer, translator, critic–and musician–James Marcus.

Listen up or download the clip at MobyLives.

James Marcus

In late June Marcus himself reported in his blog at House of Mirth about Roth, the interview, and his audio outtake: “It was not quite a year ago,” he writes, “that the Los Angeles Times published my interview with Philip Roth. In the course of our conversation, we chatted about the film adaptations of his earlier books, most of which struck the author as pretty dodgy.”

According to Marcus Roth appreciated Goodbye, Columbus, but had choice words for Ernest Lehman’s version of Portnoy’s Complaint–the first of which was “unspeakable.” Then: “It’s a movie about shouting. Jewish shouting.” Roth went on to exemplify what he meant.

Clearly impressed with Roth’s “ululating outburst,” Marcus “decided to transform it into a brief dance mix.” Melville posted it, and Marcus promised that if the clip went viral he’d create a 15-minute club version, with additional shouting from Bernard Malamud and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

ASF wants to hear THAT. So we caught up with Mr. Marcus on July 2 and asked him how the campaign’s going so far. His response: “Swimmingly.” And, he says,

Within in day or two of the initial post, there were articles all over the world–not only in such big-ticket venues as the Guardian and Harper’s and the New York Times, but on websites in Germany, Romania, and France. (The French seem somewhat grudging in their acceptance of my micro-masterpiece. My French is rudimentary, but I can sense the negative vibes in Et son remix est vraiment merdique.) Like most viral phenomena, it might peak any second. Perhaps it has already peaked–but in my egomaniacal heart of hearts, I hope not. As for the 15-minute mix, I may take a crack at it this weekend. I’m a little hesitant, to be honest. Many a joke pales if you repeat the punch line three hundred times. But hey, it’s not compulsory, and fans can enjoy the extra bits of Roth and the lap steel licks while the rest of the world turns up its nose. I do appreciate your encouragement.

If you’d like to pass along your encouragement, zip over to MobyLives and get viral. And stay tuned for more shouting. . .

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Roth Shouts Again, The Dance Mix – American Short Fiction blog - 28. Jul, 2009

    […] a promised follow-up to our report on writer-translator-critic-musician James Marcus’s sampling of Philip Roth. . . ASF brings […]

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