Marco Roth

All articles by this author

On Harold Bloom

1930–2019

This was one of Bloom’s gifts, to hear in any single work many voices. Poems were not themselves. A voice was not just one voice. And Bloom as Falstaff was not Bloom either, only a mask, a shadow: “I call to the mysterious one who yet / Shall walk the wet sands by the edge of the stream / And look most like me, being indeed my double, / And prove of all imaginable things / The most unlike, being my anti-self, / And standing by these characters disclose / All that I seek”—that’s Yeats, whose theory of antithetical characters was one of the sources to Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence.

The Refusal to Make Things Easy for Anyone

The Refusal to Make Things Easy for Anyone

On Philip Roth, 1933–2018

For an age where more people are porn-literate than literature-literate, the nerdy Roth may prove to be his most transgressive persona in posterity, although there’s another candidate for the role. As all the tributes pour in and multiply in thousands of bytes on our screens, there’s another thing that no one has really mentioned: his political astuteness.

The Disaster

The Disaster

This is what awaits us, the shell game, the con, the void.

In the corner, a former data wonk for the Sanders campaign is gently knocking his head against the wall. Someone from the TV room says “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.” Everyone left looks ashen, subdued, older, exhausted.

Jane B and me during the Paris Attacks

Jane B and me during the Paris Attacks

News of the massacres in Paris reached me about fifteen minutes before Nina and I were supposed to see Agnès Varda’s “Jane B.” The showing was at a former mausoleum factory and warehouse in north Philadelphia, a space built to advertise its wares, a white-marbled rectangular tombstone in the middle of brick houses, neon-lit gas stations and chicken joints, and a fortresslike Citizens Bank, down the street from a gun shop. It was all stupidly overdetermined. We went in anyway, not so much on the “mustn’t let the terrorists win” principle, more like “well, we’ve come this far.”

The Drone Philosopher

The Drone Philosopher

Retribution in repose

No, I can’t really challenge or logic chop Peter — A) Philosophers have leisure, B) Soldiers have leisure, C) Soldiers are, ergo, now philosophers; spot the fallacy. Sneering seems beside the point. I too once played at war across the toy-strewn floor of my bedroom and eagerly read books with titles like Tactical Genius in Battle.