Rakish progress

4 08 2018

The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth

 

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself as ‘a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes’ – an identity that will cling to him for a lifetime. As Philip Roth follows Kapesh from the domesticity of childhood out into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a m√©nage √† trois in London to the depths of loneliness in New York, Kapesh confronts the central dilemma of pleasure: how to make a truce between dignity and desire; and how to survive the ordeal of an unhallowed existence.

This really isn’t one of his best. Stylistically strong and well written as ever but Kapesh is not an appealing character and at the end of the day his journey of desire feels neither profound nor meaningful. Not a great addition to the campus novel list.

 

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