Mark Trodden


19. Philip Roth, The Human Stain

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from YaleCourses

The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291) In this lecture on The Human Stain, Professor Hungerford traces the ways that Roth's novel conforms to and pushes beyond the genre she calls the Identity Plot. Exploring the various ways that race can be construed as category, mark, biology, or performance, the novel ultimately construes the defining characteristic of its protagonist's race to be its very concealment. Secrecy is, for Roth, the source of identity and the driving force behind desire and narrative. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Roth's Mundane Modern Context: Historical Markers of the 1990s 05:59 - Chapter 2. Roth's Identity Plot: The Performance of the Self 16:36 - Chapter 3. Classification as Definition 21:25 - Chapter 4. The Body as Sign: Moments of Irreducible Otherness 27:18 - Chapter 5. Speech and Secrecy: Locating Identity in the Interval 41:31 - Chapter 6. Desire and Difference Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Spring 2008.