It’s a good thing Philip Roth has died; otherwise he would surely be canceled. Points for courage, then, to John Turturro, who
cowrote and stars in a defiantly cancelable one-act stage adaptation of Roth’s intentionally offensive 1995 novel Sabbath’s Theater (at the Pershing Square Signature Center through December 17) that luxuriates in its source’s most shocking scenes. Though Roth (1933–2018) approvingly chronicled the spread of sexual license, since his era the heterosexual lust of aging men for much younger women has widely been ruled contemptible, or in the parlance of twenty-first-century feminist columnists, “gross” or “problematic.” If sexual preoccupation was at the very heart of the American novel in the 1960s and ’70s, when Roth, John Updike, John Irving, and Norman Mailer expounded on their every horny...


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