There is no American writer of the late twentieth century who has been less concerned with smoothing out the flaws, obsessions, intolerances, neuroses and strident notes of his characters, including his double Nathan Zuckerman. Philip Roth did not omit anything: even obsessive desire, the purgatory of relationships with the other sex, adultery, illness and convalescence (often the same ones experienced by the author months or years earlier). But Zuckerman was still a character: who was Philip Roth, really?

The cover of La Lettura # 488 signed by Mario Arlati

Three years after the writer’s death in the United States in May 2018 the monumental biography of Blake Bailey is published (out on April 6 for WW Norton & Co, in Italy next year for Einaudi): the opening of the new number of La Lettura, # 488, which will be on newsstands from Sunday 4th April and already from Saturday 3rd in preview in the App for smartphones and tablets, downloadable from the App Store and Google Play, and in the web browser.

In addition to the new issue of the supplement, the App de la Lettura, distinct from that of the Corriere (in which the cultural insert is still available from Saturday), every morning offers the Theme of the Day, an extra digital focus only: an in-depth analysis, an interview, an anticipation, including through multimedia content.

The archive of all the issues of the supplement is also accessible from the App de la Lettura from 2011 to today: about 25 thousand articles that can be explored with an advanced search engine by date, theme, author and specific categories of content (visual data, graphic novel, artist covers, rankings). Those who wish also receive notifications from the editorial staff. And the weekly newsletter of the insert, which arrives via email on Friday (you can also subscribe from here), and which subscribers can also reach via the web in the following week. The price of the subscription to the App de la Lettura of € 3.99 per month or 39.99 per year, with a free week. Furthermore, for those who subscribe, all the contents of the App can also be reached from the desktop, starting from the page (from which it is also possible to start the subscription). The App can also be given as a gift by purchasing a Gift Card in or from this page.

Going back to the new issue, # 488, and to Philip Roth, for starters, an unpublished portrait of the writer comes from the words of actress Mia Farrow, who recounts her thirty-year friendship with Roth in an interview with Marco Bruna. There are many episodes described by the actress, personal memories, car trips, birthdays in company, long cheerful or painful conversations: the expert guide of the writer on the snowy roads, the reactions to the accusations of misogyny, the will to never impose censorship on the his writing, until the last telephone conversation with him, a few hours before his death. It seems to be in Roth’s company, at the table or in the garden, with friends or parents, also thanks to the rich photo gallery that accompanies the special.

La Lettura previewed Bailey’s biography, which he writes about Costanza Rizzacasa d’Orsogna: a monument born from a mass of documents, manuscripts and conversations, which has already aroused controversy in the United States, including accusations of male chauvinism and anti-Semitism (to the biographer or to Roth himself). The portrait of Roth is completed by a memory of Livia Manera, who interviewed him for two documentaries. And Sunday from 2 pm in the App and in the Digital Edition of Corriere, a special extra dedicated to the writer.

MIchael Connelly
MIchael Connelly

Roth disliked the politically correct, and who knows how he would have judged it cancel culture today (i.e. the tendency to boycott subjects or behaviors judged to be incorrect or offensive). Another writer, Michael Connelly (the most recent novel The law of innocence, Piemme): in the interview with Annachiara Sacchi, Connelly (who also evokes the iconic figure of Roth) thinks about the current American, on the assault on Capitol Hill, on racism, on fears for democracy, on the freedom of writers and on their own mixed and multi-ethnic characters.

An age of new conflicts, not just in the United States. In four pages, in the supplement, political scientists and scholars analyze the class struggle that seems to emerge on the horizon of a globalized society in which inequalities and unease are growing: writes Maurizio Ferrera, while the intervention of Carlo Bordoni dedicated to the suffering of the middle class. The essay by Lidia Undiemi dedicated to new and future disputes concerning workers, The class struggle in the 21st century (Ponte alle Grazie): in the interview with Alessia Rastelli, the author analyzes the conditions of the world of work, and warns that inequalities will not stop. Two essays published by il Mulino deal with new excluded: the volume of Paolo Perulli, of which Dario Di Vico writes, deals with the perspectives of globalization and its social effects; the study by economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, of which Antonio Carioti writes, analyzes the distress of poor whites. The article by Maurizio Scarpari reflects on Chinese society and its perennial division into classes.

In the past, cities and civilizations were born, grew and disappeared, leaving for conspicuous inheritance to subsequent eras (of knowledge and models, architectural, social and political): the historian Greg Woolf wrote about it (Life and death of ancient cities, Einaudi), who talks about it with the classicist Livia Capponi who also curates the Theme of the Day on Saturday 3 April, dedicated to some cities of history that were born and then disappeared completely). And speaking of the evolution of societies, in the future of the West there is also denatality, the demographic decline in sight for the end of the century on the whole planet: after the analysis on Italian demographic data (on the Lettura of 10 January) , in the new issue Roberto Volpi analyzes the European prospects and the population collapse so far contained only thanks to the demographic flows.

Among the meetings of the issue, the one with the translator Richard Dixon: English, moved to the Marche hills, he translated Giacomo Leopardi, Carlo Emilio Gadda and Roberto Calasso among others, and tells Angelo Ferracuti. While the personality of another great writer, the English Evelyn Waugh (Bompiani has published Autobiography of an idler) writes Alessandro Piperno, exploring both the character and the writing, one of an almost proverbial antipathy and the other capable of elegance and surgical precision.

Luis Sepulveda (Ansa)
Luis Sepulveda (Ansa)

The issue of La Lettura closes with a conversation between the widow of the writer Luis Seplveda, the poet Carmen Yez, and the translator Ilide Carmignani, who has just published the fable for Salani Story of Luis Seplveda and his cat Zorba: edited the dialogue by Severino Colombo. The text is spread over three pages and concerns the life, writing and affections of the author killed by Covid in 2020.

April 2, 2021 (change April 2, 2021 | 22:18)

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