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About the book
  • Published: 1 December 1995
  • ISBN: 9780099389019
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99
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The Professor of Desire




A deceptively simple story that raises profound questions about love and loss.

As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself 'a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes'. Little does he realise how prophetic this motto will be - or how damning. For as Philip Roth follows Kepesh from the domesticity of his childhood into the vast wilderness of erotic possibility, from a ménage à trois in London to the throes of loneliness in New York, he creates a supremely intelligent, affecting and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure: where we seek it; why we flee it; and how we struggle to make a truce between dignity and desire.

  • Pub date: 1 December 1995
  • ISBN: 9780099389019
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on 19 March 1933. The second child of second-generation Americans, Bess and Herman Roth, Roth grew up in the largely Jewish community of Weequahic, a neighbourhood he was to return to time and again in his writing. After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1950, he attended Bucknell University, Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he received a scholarship to complete his M.A. in English Literature.

In 1959, Roth published Goodbye, Columbus – a collection of stories, and a novella – for which he received the National Book Award. Ten years later, the publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, brought Roth both critical and commercial success, firmly securing his reputation as one of America’s finest young writers. Roth was the author of thirty-one books, including those that were to follow the fortunes of Nathan Zuckerman, and a fictional narrator named Philip Roth, through which he explored and gave voice to the complexities of the American experience in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

Roth’s lasting contribution to literature was widely recognised throughout his lifetime, both in the US and abroad. Among other commendations he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the International Man Booker Prize, twice the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Philip Roth died on 22 May 2018 at the age of eighty-five having retired from writing six years previously.

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Praise for The Professor of Desire

“A thoughtful...elegant novel...A fine display of literary skills”

New York Times Book Review

“No one writing can juggle the somber and the ludicrous more adroitly than Roth”

The Time

“Philip Roth is a great historian of modern eroticism”

Milan Kundera

“A profound and commanding book... There is great beauty in it, humanity and tenderness”

Sunday Telegraph

“He writes so well. His prose is both elegant and furious. It can be witty, tender and brutal in a single paragraph”

Melvyn Bragg


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