Portnoy's Complaint

By Philip Roth

Portnoy's grievance n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A affliction within which strongly-felt moral and altruistic impulses are forever warring with severe sexual longings, usually of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are ample; by reason of the patient's "morality," even if, neither myth nor act concerns in actual sexual gratification, yet really in overriding emotions of disgrace and the dread of retribution, really within the kind of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The questioned Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) it really is believed via Spielvogel that a number of the indicators will be traced to the bonds acquiring within the mother-child relationship.

With a brand new Afterword via the writer for the twenty fifth Anniversary version.

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My identify? i'm Alton Peterson”—a identify I had picked for myself out of the Montclair part of the Essex County mobile book—totally goy i used to be convinced, and seems like Hans Christian Andersen into the cut price. What a coup! Secretly i've been training writing “Alton Peterson” all wintry weather lengthy, practising on sheets of paper that I as a result tear from my computing device after institution and burn in order that they won’t need to be defined to anyone in my residence. i'm Alton Peterson, i'm Alton Peterson—Alton Christian Peterson? Or is that going a bit too a long way? Alton C. Peterson? And so preoccupied am I with no longer forgetting whom i'd now prefer to be, so nervous to make it to the boathouse whereas she remains to be altering out of her skates—and puzzling over, too, what I’ll say while she asks in regards to the center of my face and what occurred to it (old hockey damage? Fell off my horse whereas taking part in polo after church one Sunday morning—too many sausages for breakfast, ha ha ha! )—I achieve the sting of the lake with the top of 1 skate a bit ahead of I had planned—and so move hurtling ahead onto the frostbitten flooring, chipping one entrance enamel and smashing the bony protrusion on the most sensible of my tibia. My correct leg is in a forged, from ankle to hip, for 6 weeks. i've got whatever that the healthcare professional calls Osgood Shlatterer’s ailment. After the forged comes off, I drag the leg alongside in the back of me like a conflict injury—while my father cries, “Bend it! do you need to head via sensible that? Bend it! stroll traditional, will you! cease favoring that Oscar Shattered leg, Alex, otherwise you are going to finish up a cripple for the remainder of your days! ” For skating after shikses, lower than an alias, i'd be a cripple for the remainder of my days. With a lifelike mine, physician, who wishes desires? Bubbles Girardi, an eighteen-year-old lady who have been thrown out of Hillside highschool and was once to that end came across floating within the swimming pool at Olympic Park via my lascivious classmate, Smolka, the tailor’s son … For myself, I wouldn’t move close to that pool should you paid me—it is a breeding floor for polio and spinal meningitis, let alone ailments of the surface, the scalp, and the asshole—it is even rumored that a few child from Weequahic as soon as stepped into the footbath among the locker room and the pool and really got here out on the different finish with no his toenails. And but that's the place you discover the women who fuck. Wouldn’t you recognize it? that's the position to discover the categories of shikses Who Will Do something! If just a individual is prepared to danger polio from the pool, gangrene from the footbath, ptomaine from the new canine, and elephantiasis from the cleaning soap and the towels, he may in all probability get laid. We sit down within the kitchen, the place Bubbles used to be operating over the ironing board after we arrived—in her slip! Mandel and that i glance through again numbers of Ring journal, whereas within the front room Smolka attempts to speak Bubbles into taking over his pals as a unique opt to him. Bubbles’ brother, who in a former existence used to be a paratrooper, is no one we need to fear approximately, Smolka assures us, simply because he's off in Hoboken boxing in a characteristic occasion below the identify Johnny “Geronimo” Girardi.

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