The Roth Of Her Generation?

Feb 25 2013 @ 10:26am

Howard Megdal compares Lena Dunham to Philip Roth:

Roth went to Bucknell, a small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, to study literature. Dunham went to Oberlin, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, to study film. Both worked relentlessly at their crafts, each taking the well-established path toward what tends to be limited success for few. For Roth, it was placing some short stories in literary magazines, with the hope of attracting the attention of a publisher. For Dunham, it was YouTube, a short film, and heading to SXSW with her feature Tiny Furniture in the hope of attracting a producer.

And then, suddenly: fame like no one expects. Work under a microscope. Roth, the great American hope as a novelist, and a Jew, with a great American novella about Jews. Dunham, “The voice of my generation. Or at least, a voice of a generation,” as Hannah describes herself to her parents in the Girls pilot. No one makes the front page of the New York Times Book Review at 26. No one has complete creative control of, writes and stars in an HBO television show at 26. Both of them had to answer for their successes.

He goes on to note the extent to which Girls and Goodbye, Columbus “serve as parallel works, Dunham and Roth as parallel artists, and American reaction as parallel paranoid nonsense”:

The love of Goodbye, Columbus was nearly universal, and not because it somehow accurately depicted all Jews. Girls resonates for precisely the same reason, not because it has the requisite number of black cast members.