Thursday, March 29, 2018
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
I wrote Marcella, a novel whose main character had a proclivity to stimulate her genitals with her hands. I knew I shouldn't write about sex so candidly, but I couldn't stop.
Not surprisingly, my book's frank sexual theme made it controversial. By the time Charterhouse published my book in 1973, eleven publishers had turned it down. My agent said women in the publishing houses usually argued for it, the men against it. Sometimes fights erupted.
Later I discovered that Marcella had impacted world literature by being the first novel written in English that used female autoeroticism as a major theme. Autoeroticism? I rushed to the dictionary. Auto: self. Eroticism: Eros, love. Oh, I get it. Fancy language for masturbation.
Roth's Portnoy's Complaint is often hilarious. The main character, Portnoy, masturbates in a variety of ways: he squirts into a sock, an empty milk bottle, a baseball mitt and, famously, a piece of raw liver, which his mother later serves for dinner.
But don't jump to the conclusion that Portnoy's Complaint is a book about masturbation. It's not. It's a book about entanglement, especially with parents.