By Philip Roth
Portnoy's criticism n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A ailment within which strongly-felt moral and altruistic impulses are eternally warring with severe sexual longings, frequently of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are considerable; due to the patient's "morality," notwithstanding, neither myth nor act concerns in actual sexual gratification, yet really in overriding emotions of disgrace and the dread of retribution, relatively within the type of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The wondered Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) it's believed by means of Spielvogel that a number of the indicators will be traced to the bonds acquiring within the mother-child relationship.
With a brand new Afterword by means of the writer for the twenty fifth Anniversary version.
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Extra info for Portnoy's Complaint
Of the lady and her syph! of the daddy and his acquaintances! of the brother and his fists! (even notwithstanding Smolka has attempted to get me to think what moves me as absolutely wonderful, even for goyim: that either brother and father be aware of, and neither cares, that Bubbles is a “hoor”). And worry, too, that underneath the kitchen window, which I plan to jump out of if I should still pay attention loads as a footstep at the stairway, is an iron wooden fence upon which i'll be impaled. in fact, the fence i'm taking into account surrounds the Catholic orphanage on Lyons road, yet i'm by way of now midway among hallucination and coma, and a little bit woozy, as if I’ve long gone too lengthy with out nutrients. I see the photo within the Newark information, of the fence and the darkish puddle of my blood at the sidewalk, and the caption from which my family members won't ever recuperate: coverage MAN’S SON LEAPS TO loss of life. whereas I take a seat freezing in my igloo, Mandel is basting in his personal perspiration—and smells it. The physique scent of Negroes fills me with compassion, with “prose-poetry”—Mandel i'm much less indulgent of: “he nauseates me” (as my mom says of him), which isn’t to indicate that he's any much less hypnotic a creature to me than Smolka is. 16 and Jewish similar to me, yet there all resemblance ends: he wears his hair in a duck’s ass, has sideburns right down to his jawbone, and activities one-button roll matches and pointy black sneakers, and Billy Eckstine collars greater than Billy Eckstine’s! yet Jewish. tremendous! A moralistic instructor has leaked to us that Arnold Mandel has the I. Q. of a genius but prefers as an alternative to take rides in stolen autos, smoke cigarettes, and fall ill on bottles of beer. are you able to think it? A Jewish boy? he's additionally a player within the circle-jerks held with the colors pulled down in Smolka’s lounge after tuition, whereas either elder Smolkas are slaving away within the tailor store. i've got heard the tales, yet nonetheless (despite my very own onanism, exhibitionism, and voyeurism—not to say fetishism) I can’t and won’t think it: 4 or 5 men take a seat round in a circle at the ground, and at Smolka’s sign, each one starts off to drag off—and the 1st one to return will get the pot, a dollar a head. What pigs. the one rationalization i've got for Mandel’s habit is that his father died whilst Mandel was once simply ten. And this after all is what mesmerizes me such a lot of all: a boy with out a father. How do I account for Smolka and his bold? He has a mom who works. Mine, keep in mind, patrols the six rooms of our house the way in which a guerilla military strikes throughout its personal countryside—there’s now not a unmarried closet or drawer of mine whose contents she hasn’t a photographic feel of. Smolka’s mom, nonetheless, sits all day by means of a bit mild in a bit chair within the nook of his father’s shop, taking seams out and in, and by the point she will get domestic at evening, hasn’t the power to get out her Geiger counter and begin in attempting to find her child’s hair-raising number of French ticklers. The Smolkas, you need to comprehend, should not so wealthy as we—and therein lies the ultimate distinction.