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The Professor of Desire

by

The Professor of Desire Cover

ISBN13: 9780679749004
ISBN10: 0679749004
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will be—or how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.

Synopsis:

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will be—or how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.

Synopsis:

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will beor how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.

About the Author

In the 1990s Philip Roth won Americas 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 Sabbaths 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 Britains 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 20032004.” In 2007 Roth received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Everyman.

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OneMansView, December 29, 2008 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Obsessions have their limitations

To be an intellectual character in a Rothian novel is to be consigned to a life of reflection, self-analysis, self-doubt, and periods of unhappiness, all of which seem to be accentuated by being Jewish. David Kepesh, a thirty-something professor of literature, finds himself in a cabin rented for the summer in the Catskills, near his boyhood home, with twenty-something Claire Ovington, a teacher with qualities of wholesomeness, simple beauty, buxomness, openness, and imperturbability. Yet here he is, in a time of stability and happiness in his life, anticipating a time in the not too distant future when sensuality will disappear and total boredom will be all that is left.

By the time Kepesh, a smart Jewish kid, gets to college, he makes it his mission to be sexually forward with numerous coeds, the more innocent the better; his line being “Studious by day, dissolute by night.” His success ratio is quite low. But it is during his time in England on a Fulbright grant that he discovers that his unrestrained carnal indulgences with a pair of Swedish girls turn damaging to one of the girls and to his studies. Later, while at Stanford pursuing his doctorate, Kepesh becomes consumed with Helen Baird, an exquisite California beauty who has traveled the Orient as a kept woman. Marrying Helen, despite all the warning signs of which he was well aware, results in both a divorce three years later and a loss of sexual desire for which he pays a New York psychiatrist a lot of money to sort through.

The writing, as in all of Roth’s books, is simply unparalleled in its erudition and dialog, although that’s not to say that the constant replay of Kepesh’s conflicts and agonies does not get a bit tedious. Also, his indulgence in free format dialog at times leaves the reader guessing about the speaker’s identity. Being a literature professor, Kepesh finds both Chekhov and Kafka pertinent to his dilemmas and visits the birthplace and resting place of Kafka in Prague with Claire. Kepesh has certainly been chastened and has mellowed from his fixations on bodily pleasures by the time he meets Claire, which makes it all the more difficult to understand in a highly intelligent, introspective man a persistence in tendencies towards self-destructiveness. I suppose Kepesh is teaching us something – just not sure what.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679749004
Author:
Roth, Philip
Publisher:
Vintage
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
England
Subject:
Men
Subject:
Erotic stories
Subject:
Men -- New York (State) -- New York -- Sexual behavior -- Fiction.
Subject:
London (England) Fiction.
Subject:
New York (N.Y.) Fiction.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;american literature;20th century;american fiction;sexuality;sex;academia
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
PC-7014
Publication Date:
19940331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.01x5.22x.59 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Professor of Desire Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679749004 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will be—or how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.
"Synopsis" by , As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes." Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will beor how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting, and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.
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