Philip Roth: Portnoy's Complaint

(2521 words)
  • David Rampton

Although Philip Roth has arguably been America’s most versatile, ambitious and celebrated novelist since he published Portnoy’s Complaint in 1969, it will always be the novel most closely associated with his name, and this for multiple reasons. In it, Roth found a voice that resonated with a new generation and large reading public, the voice of Alexander Portnoy, an intelligent, articulate, self-dramatizing, aggrieved young man, a sex-obsessed, self-confessed “Raskolnikov of jerking off” (Portnoy, 18), desperate to tell all about the subject of his life and loves. Roth also found his own voice, or rather another voice, one that enabled him to create a ribald, satiric portrait of a certain type of J…

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Rampton, David. "Portnoy's Complaint". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 September 2009
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]

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  1. Jewish American Writing