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The American Bystander

Portnoy's Complaint

Portnoy's Complaint

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The groundbreaking novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Pastoral that originally propelled its author to literary stardom: told in a continuous monologue from patient to psychoanalyst, this masterpiece draws us into the turbulent mind of one lust-ridden young Jewish bachelor named Alexander Portnoy.

"Deliciously funny...absurd and exuberant, wild and uproarious...a brilliantly vivid reading experience." —
The New York Times Book Review
"Touching as well as hilariously lewd.... Roth is vibrantly talented.
" —New York Review of Books
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.
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