This dissertation offers rereadings of works by two of the most controversial and
influential living writers: Martin Amis and Philip Roth. These writers are often
accused of amorality, or even immorality, and this thesis deals with the controversies
these authors have incited with specific focus on their alleged misogyny. Chapter
One defines exactly why Amis and Roth are genuine problems for readers. However,
argue that simply condemning these writers also disables a reader's ability to see just
how invested they are in issues of pressing importance to contemporary society.
Chapters Two, Three, and Four examine specific novels by these authors in the light
of theories significant both to their work as well as popular and academic culture.
Chapter Two looks at how both Amis and Roth explore their separate theories about
ideology, and especially the idea of 'goodness', in Other People: A Mystery Story and
When She Was Good. Chapter Three takes as its subject trauma, history and
narrative, illustrating how they relate to Time's Arrow and Sabbath's Theater.
Finally, Chapter Four engages with masculinity theory, demonstrating Roth's and
Amis's interest in the subject as exemplified in Portnoy's Complaint and London
Fields. This thesis seeks to illustrate that Amis's and Roth's intellectual engagement
with the issues underlying these current theories defies those critics who argue that
they are amoral, immoral, or engaged entirely with their own solipsistic philosophies.