What is portnoys complaint about

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what is portnoys complaint about

Portnoys Complaint by Philip Roth

The famous confession of Alexander Portnoy, who is thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood. Hilariously funny, boldly intimate, startlingly candid, Portnoy’s Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication in 1969, and is perhaps Roth’s best-known book.

Portnoys Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patients morality, however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration. (Spielvogel, O. The Puzzled Penis, Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) it is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.
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Portnoy's Complaint

In , Philip Roth 's most famous character, the sex-obsessed Alexander Portnoy confessed to his analyst: "What I'm saying, Doctor, is that I don't seem to stick my dick up these girls, as much as I stick it up their backgrounds — as though through fucking I will discover America. Portnoy's Complaint, which the New Yorker greeted as "one of the dirtiest books ever published", helped Roth shake off any lingering respectability he had earned from his early novels.
Philip Roth

Portnoy’s Complaint

The book was highly controversial —loudly reviled and just as loudly praised—but most importantly: it was read. Soon after its publication, it had sold millions of copies, and the notion of a young man and his liver had become a reliable punchline—and in some ways, so had Roth. Ivory is the soap that floats; Rice Krispies the breakfast cereal that goes snap-crackle-pop; Philip Roth the Jew who masturbates with a piece of liver. And makes a million out of it. How does it go, and is it actually important to the book? That is: how does the legend compare to the text?

Late novelist stunned readers in with novel centred around frank sexual confessions and neurosis of New Jersey lawyer Alexander Portnoy, the 'Raskolnikov of jerking off'. Or else I was doubled over my flying fist, eyes pressed close but mouth wide open
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Though Roth has spent more energy developing the character of Nathan Zuckerman, and in recent years has written exceptional novels starring none other than Philip Roth, it seems clear that or years from now, the author will be remembered as the creator of Alexander Portnoy-sex-crazed, often impotent, obsessed with the slings and arrows of his Jewish family. His second object of fascination, shikses that is, non-Jewish girls , carries him well into his 20s. By the end of the novel, Portnoy has landed in post Israel, where he finds himself as out of place and neurotic as ever. At the same time, many serious readers-both male and female-have found it not only a riotously comic emblem of late s culture, but also a lasting work of art with something important to say about American Jewish life. One could argue that all the sex in the novel is highly traditional, though expressed in an X-rated vocabulary that became available only in the mids, thanks to a series of anti-censorship court decisions. Critics like Leslie Fiedler have suggested that telling stories about who sleeps with whom and who marries whom has been one of the major ways Jewish writing has approached questions of Jewish nationhood, identity, and continuity, starting as far back as the Torah itself.


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