February 27, 2019

Philip Roth’s upper west side apartment is now on the market


When a beloved (or controversial) literary icon dies, there are a few ways of keeping our connection with them alive.

You can often commune with them through Melville House’s Last Interview Series. You can sometimes score some rare swag at an auction or estate sale. But, of course, the true fan will always move right into their house.

Option three is currently available to the Portnoy-head that might like to pony up for the late Philip Roth’s Upper West Side apartment.

New York real estate news site The Real Deal reports the asking price as 3.2 million dollars. Of course, the “literary listing” genre of story is only as good as the traces of the author it can give us, the sense of the life lived within otherwise uninspiring walls. And on this matter Real Deal reports:

His Upper West Side residence is a storied place that is almost exactly as he left it. During a recent tour of the apartment, his 1998 Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral was on one of his desks.

A thesaurus and the Samuel Scheffler book Death and the Afterlife were on a stand-up writing desk that Roth used to ease his chronically painful back.

In 1989, Roth bought his first unit at the Upper West Side building, which he initially used as a writing studio while residing several blocks away with his wife at the time, Claire Bloom.

When their marriage ended, Roth took a Connecticut respite to write The American Trilogy, the success of which propelled him back to Manhattan where he bought a unit adjacent to the original apartment and combined them into one.

Today, another of Roth’s properties in the building is also for sale, including another adjacent studio which could be integrated (for an added $675,000) into your very own Apartment Trilogy.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.