Video: American Pastoral

Great American Novel Series

National Association of Scholars

Can we ever truly understand the hearts of other people? In Philip Roth's 1997 novel, American Pastoral, we learn of the tragic derailment of the life of Seymour "Swede" Levov, a once successful businessman and former high school star athlete from Newark, New Jersey. Levov's happy and conventional upper-middle-class life is ruined by the domestic social and political turmoil of the 1960s.

Watch this event to discover what makes American Pastoral a great American novel. We ask: what does the American Pastoral refer to? How is it relevant for readers today?

This event featured Michael Wood, Professor of English Emeritus at Princeton University; Matthew Shipe, Senior Lecturer in English and Director of Advanced Writing at Washington University in St. Louis; and Steven Malanga, Senior Editor of City Journal and George M. Yeager Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The discussion was moderated by NAS Director of Research David Randall.

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