Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Friday, September 7, 2012

EXPLICATION DE TEXTE

I had an email asking me what the pun is in the title of Philip Roth's novel, Portnoy's Complaint.  Okay, so that is a bald-faced lie.  Nobody asked.  I just wanted to explain [this might be taken as an instance of "The Teacher's Complaint."]  The title is a double pun:  First of all, there is the medical sense of complaint, as represented by Roth's faux medical definition at the beginning of the novel of what is bothering Portnoy.  Second, there is the fact that Portnoy's is perpetually complaining about his mother, who seems to be the real, albeit hidden, focus of his obsessive sexual fantasies.  Finally, in 16th century English poetry, a "lover's complaint" is a poem in which the poet, addressing his beloved, bemoans the fact that she does not requite his passion.  All in all, a rather witty title.

1 comment:

Jerome Doolittle said...

Hmmm. The pun I thought you meant was "cum plaint." Just to add another level to this close sexual analysis.