|About the Book|
Completed in the last year of his life, From Bondage is perhaps Roths most profound work, for like Tolstoy in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Roth examines his own imminent passing in the most plaintive of ways, telling the story of the old man, IraMoreCompleted in the last year of his life, From Bondage is perhaps Roths most profound work, for like Tolstoy in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Roth examines his own imminent passing in the most plaintive of ways, telling the story of the old man, Ira Stigman, who, in spite of his physical frailties, finds solace in re-creating the lost love affair of his youth. Capturing the bohemian downtown world of Manhattan in the 1920s, Roth has set the stage for one of the most memorable of literary romances. At its heart, From Bondage is the mesmerizing love triangle involving young Ira, an impressionable neophyte from Jewish Harlem, and Edith Welles, a sophisticated professor of English, a muse to starving poets and lovelorn men, who sweeps Ira into her world of soigne parties and literary debaucheries. Edith, as the old man Ira relays the story, is still physically involved with her former student Larry Gordon when she finds herself attracted to Ira, who is Larrys best friend. To complicate the matter even more, Edith is also carrying on a simultaneous affair with Lewlyn, the separated husband of the aspiring anthropologist Marcia Meede. Fictionalizing the lives of the celebrities of the 1920s, including such burgeoning literary figures as Hart Crane, Louise Bogan, Leonie Adams, and Margaret Mead, Roth creates an unforgettable portrait of New York where the lights of Manhattan twisted toward him across the rippling water like a gimlet. Perhaps the last witness to this age, Roth paints a gentile and genteel world that contrasts so vividly with the seemingly coarse, abject slums of the Pushcart District from which he had sprung. Ira, then a young man, is the observant witness to the spectacle that unfolds, seeking desperately to ingratiate himself into this world of sophisticates, yet hopelessly tethered to the tenement roots he cannot escape.