Philip Roth: His Life and Times

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6 Sessions: Tuesdays, April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 2020

Time: 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Location: BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459

Schedule: 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Lecture/Presentation; 9:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Group Discussion


Philip Roth: His Life and Times

Philip Roth burst on the literary scene first with a collection of short stories Good-bye Columbus and then with Portnoy’s Complaint. He went on to become one of America’s most important writers and one of its most controversial–a hero to some, a misogynist to others. He created characters such as Zuckerman and Portnoy that now reside in the public’s conscience.

This course will discuss some of his best and some of his lesser known works, as well as interviews and films based on his novels. We will relate his work to his personal life as well as the times in which he lived: World War II, the McCarthy era, the women’s movement, Korea and Vietnam. Did his writing change as he grew older? How does he compare to other American writers of his era and with the Jewish writers of his time? All this and more will be the subject of our exploration.


Dan Jacobs, MD

Psychoanalyst Member, Training and Supervising Analyst, and Faculty of the Psychoanalytic Training and Explorations in Mind programs, BPSI. Dr. Jacobs holds a master’s degree in English Literature and has previously taught courses that focus on the connections between literature and psychoanalysis. Private practice in Brookline, MA.


Program Co-Chairs
Holly Friedman Housman, LICSW:
Chris Lovett, PhD:



Explorations in Mind: Community Education at BPSI is made possible by the generous support of BPSI Members and friends. To make a gift to BPSI, contact Carole Nathan ( or 617-266-0953 x101),
go to, or send mail to BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459.


This course open to licensed mental health clinicians and trainees on the path to licensure. Continuing Education credits are offered for physicians, psychologists and social workers.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. List three important psychological events in Roth’s life and their influence on his writings;
  2. Define misogyny and explain why it does or does not app to Roth’s work;
  3. Explain three psychological issues raised by being a member of an American minority group (in this case, a Jew) illustrated in Roth’s work;
  4. Explain three conflicts apparent during adolescence development that are illustrated by Portnoy’s Complaint;
  5. Identify four psychological challenges in aging that Roth’s later works illustrate;
  6. List four ways in which contemporary societal issues influenced Roth’s life and work;
  7. Identify three psychological reactions (positive or negative) to the transformation of the written word to the visual, i.e. books to movies;
  8. List four psychological challenges to being and remaining married that Roth illustrates in his fiction.


Scholarships are available for all BPSI programs.
FEE: $230 Early Bird (use code: EB2020PR); $275 Regular (through 3/10/2020)
The fee is waived for Early Career Clinicians and BPSI Members, Trainees, and Partners. Scholarships are available upon request.

Continuing Education 
Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 9 hours of CE. 
Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Social Workers: Application for social work continuing education credits has been submitted. Please contact us at or 617-266-0953 for the status of social work CE accreditation.
Please note: Per NASW requirements, social workers must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Licensed Mental Health Clinicians: NBCC credits are not available for this course.
Please note: Licensed Mental Health Clinicians may request continuing education credit on an individual basis from NBCC, through their Continuing Education Credit Verification process.


Event Cancellation Policies & Procedures
Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled must submit their request in writing via email to Drew Brydon at For fee-based events, a request for cancellation (and refund using the original form of payment) must be received no later than 48 hours in advance of the event. Requests received later than 48 hours prior to the event will not be processed or accepted. All approved refunds are subject to a $10.00 administrative fee. If BPSI cancels an event, all registrants will receive a full refund of fees paid (no administration charge) no later than two business days following the scheduled date of the event, using the original form of payment.

Grievance Policy
Please address any questions or concerns about your experience at this or any program or event you have attended at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute to the Program Chair(s), via the Senior Administrator/Continuing Education Administrator, BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459;; 617.266.0953.

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Inc., 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459, does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or handicap in the admissions, administration of its educational programs, scholarship programs or employment.





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