First edition, signed on the title page and extensively annotated across five pages of front matter (flyleaf, half-title, title-page and dedication page). Some 200 words in Roth’s hand, in which he offers extensive commentary on this powerful novel about the Sixties, in which the protagonist, Seymour “Swede” Levov, has his world shattered when his daughter becomes a radical and terrorist. “The daughter & the decade,” Roth writes in his notes, “blasting to smithereens his particular form of utopian thinking…His whole world in flames. Rita Cohen was for me the embodiment of the forces of the nemesis of the American middle class.” Echoing the title of a later work, Roth sees American Pastoral as an exploration of “the blight on the dream of perfection. The indelible imperfection. The human stain.”
ROTH, Philip. American Pastoral. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 8°. Original cloth-backed boards; dust jacket.