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Portnoy’s Complaint: freedom to move


Freedom: unleashing the gush
Philip Roth Writer
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So I wasn't just… I was overthrowing my education… my literary education. I was overthrowing my own first three books and I was overthrowing my… the literary seriousness that had accompanied my education and that had launched me into writing in the first place. But that was chapter two, Whacking Off, it was called.

And that was really what unleashed the, to use the word I've used before about others, a gush, the plenitude... that Whacking Off chapter.

The fame of the American writer Philip Roth (1933-2018) rested on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrayed in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he wrote, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Whacking Off

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013