About this item

The groundbreaking novel that propelled its author to literary stardom: told in a continuous monologue from patient to psychoanalyst, Philip Roth's masterpiece draws us into the turbulent mind of one lust-ridden young Jewish bachelor named Alexander Portnoy.

Portnoy's 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 patient's "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 für 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.



About the Author

Philip Roth

In the 1990s Philip Roth won America's four major literary awards in succession: the National Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony (1991) , the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock (1993) , the National Book Award for Sabbath's Theater (1995) , and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for American Pastoral (1997) . He won the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union for I Married a Communist (1998) ; in the same year he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House. Previously he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Counterlife (1986) and the National Book Award for his first book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959) . In 2000 he published The Human Stain, concluding a trilogy that depicts the ideological ethos of postwar America. For The Human Stain Roth received his second PEN/Faulkner Award as well as Britain's W. H. Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year. In 2001 he received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, given every six years "for the entire work of the recipient." In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians Award for "the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003 - 2004." In 2007 Roth received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Everyman.



Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends


Report incorrect product information.