Philip Roth scribbled his unabashed criticisms and analysis along the margins of some of the 7,000 books in his personal collection that he donated to the Newark Public Library after his death in 2018.
It’s given Nadine Sergejeff, who is cataloging the books for a special collections exhibit, an intimate glimpse into the interests and research process of the author who often wrote about his birthplace of Newark. In one biography Roth annotated, Sergejeff said, it appeared he got irritated, based on the profanity-laden critiques written in the margins.
The library aims to open the exhibit in the downtown main branch in May 2021.
Roth arranged for the books in his personal collection to be given to the library in 2016, about two years before he died at 85. He also donated to the library $2 million, which will be used for the annual Philip Roth Lecture Series and to catalog his personal collection, said Newark Library Director Joslyn Bowling Dixon.