Portnoy's Complaint

Portnoy's Complaint

Philip Roth

Language: English

Pages: 289

ISBN: 0679756450

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

With a new Afterword by the author for the 25th Anniversary edition.





















a king would be proud to put on display, and a shlong of magisterial length and girth. And they were his: yes, of this I am absolutely certain, they hung down off of, they were connected on to, they could not be taken away from, him! Of course, around the house I saw less of his sexual apparatus than I did of her erogenous zones. And once I saw her menstrual blood … saw it shining darkly up at me from the worn linoleum in front of the kitchen sink. Just two red drops over a quarter of a

year!” Confused, heartbroken, and also out of her mind. For all this comes to me from the balcony of our hotel room in Athens, as I stand in the doorway, suitcases in hand, begging her to please come back inside so that I can catch a plane out of that place. Then the angry little manager, all olive oil, mustache, and outraged respectability, is running up the stairway waving his arms in the air—and so, taking a deep breath, I say, “Look, you want to jump, jump!” and out I go—and the last words I

Because that is what I hear, Doctor. The last words I hear before flying off to Europe—and with The Monkey, somebody whom I have kept a total secret from them. “What if I die?” and then off I go for my orgiastic holiday abroad. … Now, whether the words I hear are the words spoken is something else again. And whether what I hear I hear out of compassion for him, out of my agony over the inevitability of this horrific occurrence, his death, or out of my eager anticipation of that event, is also

of my head, I have to know what it’s like! THE MOST PREVALENT FORM OF DEGRADATION IN EROTIC LIFE I don’t think I’ve spoken of the disproportionate effect The Monkey’s handwriting used to have upon my psychic equilibrium. What hopeless calligraphy! It looked like the work of an eight-year-old—it nearly drove me crazy! Nothing capitalized, nothing punctuated—only those oversized irregular letters of hers slanting downward along the page, then dribbling off. And printed, as on the drawings

signs of the American girl she would have been had her parents never left Philadelphia. This might have been my sister, I think, another big girl with high ideals. I can even imagine Hannah having emigrated to Israel, had she not found Morty to rescue her. But who was there to rescue me? My shikses? No, no, I rescue them. No, my salvation is clearly in this Naomi! Her hair is worn like a child’s, in two long braids—a ploy, of course, a dream-technique if ever there was one, designed to keep me

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