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Portnoy's Complaint

by Philip Roth (1969)

Portnoy's Complaint (1969) is the American novel that turned author Philip Roth into a major celebrity, sparking a storm of controversy over its explicit and candid treatment of sexuality, including detailed depictions of masturbation using various props including a piece of liver. The novel tells the humorous monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor" who confesses to his psychoanalyst in "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language." Many of its characteristics (comedic prose; themes of sexual desire and sexual frustration; a self-cons...

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