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Abstract

In her article "Roth's Fiction from Nemesis to Nemesis" Emily Budick discusses Philip Roth's novel Nemesis as the culminating work of a career in which one nemesis or another has afflicted almost all of the author's protagonists. During the bulk of Roth's career, the hero's nemesis was generally, as in the ordinary, literary usage of the term, the protagonist's enemy, whether Judge Wapter in The Ghost Writer or the alter-Roth in The Counterlife. In Nemesis Roth restores the word nemesis to its classical meaning: Nemesis, as the goddess of revenge and cosmic balance. The nemesis in Roth's novel, therefore, is mortality itself, against which human beings vainly strive. It is also the condition of disease and filth that human beings shares with each other and the natural world, that some humans would, with hubris, attempt to put themselves beyond.