The Professor of Desire

The Professor of Desire

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by Philip Roth
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

Author Biography: 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."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
LJ's reviewer dubbed this volume ``an entertaining, mature exploration of the conflicts of passion and reason'' (LJ 9/15/77). The plot follows protagonist David Kepesh, who moves between a life of scholarship and carnal adventure. The paperback publication of Roth's Operation Shylock (LJ 4/15/93) should generate interest in this earlier novel.
Charles McGrath
....[T]houghtful, stylistically elegant novel about the paradox of male desire. -- The New York Times Books of the Century
From the Publisher
"Ranks among the major achievements in the literature of our time." —Village Voice

"No one writing can juggle the somber and the ludicrous more adroitly than Roth." —Time

"Philip Roth is a great historian of modern eroticism.... [He] speaks of a sexuality that questions itself; it is still hedonism, but it is problematic, wounded, ironic hedonism. His is the uncommon union of confession and irony. Infinitely vulnerable in his sincerity and infinitely elusive in his irony." —Milan Kundera

"A thoughtful...elegant novel.... A fine display of literary skills." —The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374237561
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/01/1977
Series:
David Kepesh Series
Pages:
263

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