Stock Image
The Human Stain: Roth, Philip

The Human Stain

Roth, Philip

27,230 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0618059458 / ISBN 13: 9780618059454
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2000
Condition: Near Fine Minus Hardcover
From Daniel Montemarano (Newfield, NJ, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 23, 2001

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 210.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 4.95 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

1st Edition/1st Printing (cpmplete number line). Attached to front end page is a Postal First Day Cover (FDC), honoring The Human Stain, SIGNED by Philip Roth (signature only). $26.00 price present on DJ flap; mylar protected. PEN/Faulkner Award winner. (Bonus: Comes with a unsigned 1st Printing hardcover copy of Roth's National Book Award novel "Sabbath's Theater"). Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 028218

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Human Stain

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine Minus

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed Postal First Day Cover

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished his most virulent accuser. Coleman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with Faunia Farley, a woman half his age with a savagely wrecked past--a part-time farmhand and a janitor at the college where, until recently, he was the powerful dean of faculty. And it's not the secret of Coleman's alleged racism, which provoked the college witch-hunt that cost him his job and, to his mind, killed his wife. Nor is it the secret of misogyny, despite the best efforts of his ambitious young colleague, Professor Delphine Roux, to expose him as a fiend. Coleman's secret has been kept for fifty years: from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman, who sets out to understand how this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, had fabricated his identity and how that cannily controlled life came unraveled. Set in 1990s America, where conflicting moralities and ideological divisions are made manifest through public denunciation and rituals of purification, The Human Stain concludes Philip Roth's eloquent trilogy of postwar American lives that are as tragically determined by the nation's fate as by the "human stain" that so ineradicably marks human nature. This harrowing, deeply compassionate, and completely absorbing novel is a magnificent successor to his Vietnam-era novel, American Pastoral, and his McCarthy-era novel, I Married a Communist.

Review:

Athena College was snoozing complacently in the Berkshires until Coleman Silk--formerly "Silky Silk," undefeated welterweight pro boxer--strode in and shook the place awake. This faculty dean sacked the deadwood, made lots of hot new hires, including Yale-spawned literary-theory wunderkind Delphine Roux, and pissed off so many people for so many decades that now, in 1998, they've all turned on him. Silk's character assassination is partly owing to what the novel's narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, calls "the Devil of the Little Place--the gossip, the jealousy, the acrimony, the boredom, the lies."

But shocking, intensely dramatized events precipitate Silk's crisis. He remarks of two students who never showed up for class, "Do they exist or are they spooks?" They turn out to be black, and lodge a bogus charge of racism exploited by his enemies. Then, at 71, Viagra catapults Silk into "the perpetual state of emergency that is sexual intoxication," and he ignites an affair with an illiterate janitor, Faunia Farley, 34. She's got a sharp sensibility, "the laugh of a barmaid who keeps a baseball bat at her feet in case of trouble," and a melancholy voluptuousness. "I'm back in the tornado," Silk exults. His campus persecutors burn him for it--and his main betrayer is Delphine Roux.

In a short space, it's tough to convey the gale-force quality of Silk's rants, or the odd effect of Zuckerman's narration, alternately retrospective and torrentially in the moment. The flashbacks to Silk's youth in New Jersey are just as important as his turbulent forced retirement, because it turns out that for his entire adult life, Silk has been covering up the fact that he is a black man. (If this seems implausible, consider that the famous New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard did the same thing.) Young Silk rejects both the racism that bars him from Woolworth's counter and the Negro solidarity of Howard University. "Neither the they of Woolworth's nor the we of Howard" is for Coleman Silk. "Instead the raw I with all its agility. Self-discovery--that was the punch to the labonz.... Self-knowledge but concealed. What is as powerful as that?"

Silk's contradictions power a great Philip Roth novel, but he's not the only character who packs a punch. Faunia, brutally abused by her Vietnam vet husband (a sketchy guy who seems to have wandered in from a lesser Russell Banks novel), scarred by the death of her kids, is one of Roth's best female characters ever. The self-serving Delphine Roux is intriguingly (and convincingly) nutty, and any number of minor characters pop in, mouth off, kick ass, and vanish, leaving a vivid sense of human passion and perversity behind. You might call it a stain. --Tim Appelo

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

I am not a professional bookseller. I am disposing my personal library of signed first editions and autographs, collected as a hobby over the past 55 years.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

We accept direct payments by check or money order or PAYPAL (PayPal payment must be done within three days or order will be cancelled). Visa & MasterCard accepted through ABE E-COMMERCE program (seller does not handle credit card processing directly). Returns accepted, in same condition, within 10 days of receipt if item is not as described (contact first). Scans available. No dealer discounts. Prices listed are firm---no 'best offer' inquiries please. Also: I DO NOT SHIP TO NJ ADDRESSES.


Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or over-sized, we may request extra shipping. Also: overseas shipments of books valued over $100 may require request for extra postage since they will be shipped by Priority Mail which has tracking. Also: Please be patient since shipping times given are estimates only and delays in postal system (and customs for international orders) are possible--times given are not guaranteed delivery times. Orders over $200 will require signature confirmation with delivery. Also note: Do no accept or ship any item ordered overseas that is valued under $25 (and certain countries excluded due to past delivery problems).

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order PayPal