Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Professor of Desire” as Want to Read:
The Professor of Desire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Professor of Desire

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,579 ratings  ·  105 reviews
As a student in college, David Kepesh styles himself "a rake among scholars, a scholar among rakes". Little does he realize how prophetic this motto will be--or how damning. For as we follow Kepesh into the wilderness of erotic possibility, we discover an intelligent and often hilarious novel about the dilemma of pleasure.

Librarian's note: please see this edition for an al...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 15th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1977)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Professor of Desire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Professor of Desire

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,390)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Il mio amore per Philip Roth è nato leggendo Pastorale americana e non è mai finito, è un amore scoppiato all’improvviso, un colpo di fulmine che ora è diventato un amore adulto e consapevole. Lui è un fallocentrico, un maschilista, ossessionato dal sesso e dalla morte, ed io lo amo perché nei suoi libri parla di me, della mia sporcizia, delle macchie che mi porto dietro, di cui egli ha detto in un altro libro che consiglio di leggere assolutamente, che sono la nostra impronta, l’unico mezzo per...more
I don't understand the difference between "chick lit" and this. Boys write about love and sex and their relationships with their mothers just as much as all these modern day female authors who have to suffer the indignities of having their debut novel plastered with baby blue or pink illustrations and dumped into the Chick Lit ghetto at Barnes & Noble.

Roth's character David Kepesh is totally solipsistic, lovelorn and arrogant. This bordered on parody. "Jewish New York intellectual rants abou...more
the name of this book makes me giggle but nevertheless, very good. i really love roth. it will be sad when he dies. this review is useless.
Finalmente è stato ripubblicato quello che a mio avviso è uno dei migliori libri di Roth. Chi ci vede, riduttivamente e volgarmente, riproposto l’annoso maschile dilemma fra donne onorate e donne perdute gli fa un grosso torto; qui si tratta di compiacere e di riconoscere la propria natura e quindi accettarne le conseguenze in termini di problematicità dell’esistenza oppure accettare di “crescere”, rinunciare alle pulsioni e/o incanalarle in un rapporto finalmente adulto; inutile dire che Kepesh...more
Jonathan Hiskes
Roth's novel brings to mind a line from Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars. An elementary school teacher is asked what students can learn from Shakespeare. Her immediate answer, the line I remember: "That we are made for more than our desires." Roth's protagonist comes off as little more than the sum of his untrained desires, which is a thin way to render a character.

The last ten pages or so function as a short story on their own, (which the protagonist notes), in which the professor takes care o...more
This has no plot. This has no plot. This has no plot. A tedious novel, if it even is a novel rather than a series of pointless but amusing anecdotes about pretty flat, Dickensian characters (Bratasky, Abe Kepesh, Baumgarten).

Lots of great passages in here. but then again, as Roth so often writes, there are lots of passages that are unnecessarily fancy, many five-dollar words where a five-cent word would have sufficed. But even these sweeping sections do not make up for this thing barely even be...more
Mark Wilkerson
The Professor of Desire is a book that works for me because its protagonist, David, attempts to answer the questions that can hound, often subconsciously, readers of serious fiction, or readers of books that examine desire, love, and sex. David himself is dogged by these questions as he jumps (or, rather, slowly enters) new relationships with women. All of the women are very different in terms of looks, personalities, and views about sex in a relationship, and David explores how these women fit...more
May 04, 2013 Apollinaire rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has wanted to like Roth but been exhausted by the monologuing
Shelves: reviewed-books
When, earlier this year, Roth announced he was done writing novels, I thought, “Oh finally.” I have my pet sexist pigs, but Roth is not one of them. Given the claustrophobic first person POV, his diminishment of women figures too largely to maneuver around.

So the 1977 “Professor of Desire” turned out to be a nice surprise. Sure, there’s the measuring of women’s desirability by the size of their breasts, but for leavening there are the intrusions of Professor Kepesh’s voluble, comically self-agg...more
Cynthia Robinson
I'm drowning sweetly in these words. I'm not even being romantic about this.
Uma nova tradução foi lançada recentemente com uma capa rosa e estrategicamente as livrarias o colocam próximo do 50 tons de cinza. O preconceito natural que eu tive pelo livro foi rompido graças à escolha do clube de Leitura da Livraria Cultura de Salvador no mês de março.

Apesar do título e da capa, não diria que o livro é "sexualizado". As capas antigas de algumas edições em português e inglês são bem conservadoras inclusive. Não lembro de ter lido nenhuma cena explicita de sexo e mesmo quand...more
Jim Leckband
Dum-dum-dum-dummmm. If you say the previous syllables out loud you probably can figure out one of the most recognizable pieces of music in history (besides, of course, "Ooops, I Did It Again"). Beethoven created his fifth symphony out of four stupid notes. From almost any other composer the result would be "BBBBBorrrinng" as Baumgarten in this book would blurt (and using the same descension by a minor third as LvB did). But the symphony isn't boring, not by a long shot, and neither is "The Profe...more
Kyle Shroufe
This is currently my favorite Roth novel (I havn't read them all yet) and it is what made me a true believer in his work. I found this novel which is actually a sequel to "The Breast" (Roth's "Metamorphasis" double that has David Kepesh turned into a 155lb breast) I find it somewhat strange that not many reflections on his experiance in "The Breast were eluded to in this sequel. Regardless this is one of the most sexually, not promiscuous, but aware novel that I have ever read. I found myself re...more
This book shows the extent to which Roth knows one of life's most important parts, desire, and proves his brilliance in giving loyal utterance to the reality he has absorbed from his own life. The story is actually the history of David Kepesh's sexual desire, its ebb and flow, its hope and desperation, its deception. Roth's scrupulous psychological realism and attention to detail in his description of desire and its rise and fall is amazing. His working into the texture of the story an omniprese...more
Il giovane David Kepesh è il primo della classe, serio, puntiglioso negli studi, lettore, pieno di certezze e di autostima. Ad un certo punto decide di impegnarsi nella sua vita sessuale con lo stesso impegno finora dedicato agli studi e comincia a tormentare tutte le ragazzine che gli vengono a tiro. Con risultati penosi, perché le ragazzine, la maggioranza delle volte, si stupiscono del suo cambiamento e lo rifiutano.

“Con una simile reputazione avrei dovuto ridurne centinaia al meretricio, men...more
It was when I read the then-new American Pastoral that I exclaimed of Roth, "He has grown up!" Here, I suspect, is where that process begins. As with the dispiriting My Life as a Man, we have a protagonist dealing with a Medea-esque castrating harridan, but by the end of this one, there is at least a shred of hope that dealings between the sexes won't always and inevitably be catastrophic emotional sieges. A shred. A start.

Actually read this in the 3rd volume of the Library of America edition, e...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Un libro sulla fatica di vivere, sulla fatica di trovare l’equilibrio, di rinunciare a qualcosa che ci attrae ma ci distrugge in favore di un quotidiano tran tran che ci annoia ma ci consola. Un libro non pienamente riuscito nella sua drammaticità, soprattutto nella prima parte è difficile seguire il protagonista nella sua strada di perdizione, per cui ad un certo punto il dilemma compare ma sembra più “descritto” che raccontato. Poi invece il libro evolve, si sviluppa su un piano leggermente di...more
Michael Battaglia
Years ago the local public library that I worked for was putting some paperbacks up for sale that had been donated. A couple of them were Philip Roth novels and as I'd heard he was a fairly important 20th century author, I snagged a handful to put in my queue. One of them "Goodbye, Columbus" I eventually read but the other had such a goofy title and a cover that made the battered paperback look like something utterly tawdry that I couldn't bring my mid-twenties self to actually read it, and woun...more
Rosalba come puoi cambiare idea su quella che è la tua natura?

Capii che quando si ama, nei propri ragionamenti su questo amore bisogna partire da qualcosa che sta più in alto, che è più importante dei concetti di felicità o infelicità, di peccato o di buona condotta nelle loro accezioni correnti o non bisogna ragionarci affatto.
This is:

1) As purely delightful a novel as Roth has written, one of the very strongest of his early novels 2) As harrowing a novel of addiction as The Gambler or Hangover Square 3) A wonderful palette-cleanser after running the gauntlet that is Gaddis's JR.
I must give this book 4 stars first off because Roth's language and storytelling style was fantastic. I was amused and my attention was captivated. I read a few other reviews and noticed many men gave it 5 stars due to Kapesh's character. Which does not surprise me. I wouldn't say I agree so much with Kapesh's thoughts on the opposite sex, however I do think it is a pretty good reflection on how many men actually do view women. As you can see by how this effects our main character, it seems to t...more
David Kepesh lucha por pactar una tregua entre la dignidad y el deseo, vive en un dilema constante y circular sobre el placer: lo busca arduamente, lo consigue, se envicia, se asusta de sus consecuencias y huye de el sublimando sus deseos hacia su carrera como profesor de literatura, primero como puerto seguro que le otorga una breve tregua hasta iniciar su siguiente búsqueda y finalmente apoyo terapéutico para superar una feroz depresión.

La literatura y el sicoanálisis funcionan como contrapunt...more
Pedro Caldas
É uma pena que Philip Roth tenha decidido parar de escrever, e, por isso, fiquei contente quando vi “O professor do desejo” em uma livraria. Espero que as suas obras sejam traduzidas aos poucos. Mesmo que não goste de alguns temas de Roth, devo admitir que seu estilo me agrada bastante. Ele tem achados verbais realmente incríveis. E este “Professor do desejo” não me decepcionou neste aspecto.

O livro tem como protagonista e narrador David Kepesh, o mesmo protagonista de um romance dele que eu gos...more
C Moore
Spanning the sensual evolution of a life from the indiscreet and the erotic early experimentations to the mid-life explorations of (at least, attempted) stable and normal relationships, The Professor of Desire is unlike other novels I have read. Roth is powerfully eloquent, slowly unraveling strands of the plot and elements of character development in such a way as to ultimately have them coalesce into the larger, united whole that is this novel. Also, the final lines are perfectly rendered, ref...more
Rene Stein
Kniha, jejíž téma je blízké tématu knihy Portnoyův komplex od stejného autora (

Zpověď zhýralce mezi vzdělanci, jak zní podtitul této knihy, je moderní zpovědí dítěte svého věku, nad kterou by se Alfred de Musset u některých pasáží asi červenal. Červenání dnešním čtenářům určitě nehrozí, ale mnoho z nich porozumí popisu pohybu kyvadla mezi nezměrnou touhou a ještě větší frustrací po naplnění touhy na postavě Davida Kapeshe.

Touha totiž není zázrak, jak pěj...more
Years past since I last ventured into the world of Professor Kepesh - though I had watched Elegy, the adaptation of the novel The Dying Animal - before I picked up The Professor of Desire. I had my attempts in the past with reading the book, but nothing came out of it. I just returned into the shelf it lived for the past years. Just last week, however, I decided that the season was right and I was in the mood for a little desire of my own. I quickly got myself into it, losing myself in Roth's ma...more
Outra Página
O começo de O Professor do Desejo me deixou bastante intrigada. Sem entender mesmo o porquê de todos os comentários exaltando Philip Roth. Porém, a má impressão se desfez tão logo a personalidade de David Kepesh, o rapaz que protagoniza a obra, adquiriu mais contornos. Aí entendi o porquê aquelas 50 páginas descrevendo fantasias sexuais que, algumas vezes, beiravam o clichê e já tinham sido descritas (talvez até de uma maneira mais eficiente) em diversas outras obras.

David Kepesh, o narrador do...more
I'm sure I have read Philip Roth before, but it has been a long time and I have no memory of what I might have read or how I liked it. This book was recommended by a friend who reads Roth and is a fan. The recommendation came with the warning that Roth is considered a misogynist by some; my friend (a man) was eager for my opinion because while he doesn't necessarily agree, he can certainly understand why Roth is so labeled. I began the book with some trepidation and a lot of curiosity. Immediate...more
The second volume in Roth's Kepesh trilogy didn't really move me as much as I would have hoped. David Kepesh spends much of his youth studying literature and frolicking with women, then settles down and gets married, then gets divorced, then falls in with a schoolteacher and starts to build a life, only to catch a glimpse of the fleeting nature of his affection. The novel ends with a bunch of nostalgic backwards-looking that I found stilted (though effusiveness certainly wasn't what I was lookin...more
David Kepesh. What a man. What a boy. He's had all he could ever want in the palm of his hand and he nonchalantly let's everything go. I don't know what else to say about him. This book was three-hundred pages long of his adventures, troubles, and exploits. David Kepesh is the man that you could only have the misfortune of meeting. and sadly his life resembles many of the lost youth that are currently out there today. I don't know where Roth creates his characters from; his life, personal contac...more
David Kepesh, cold and alone, reminds me of a somewhat more narcissistic and grandiose Greenberg. Self-loathing coupled with wit and charm and an acute sense of the complexities of life. I think Greenberg is a more angry character though. We create our own misery, I get it... but how do we stop? How does a personality prone to taking itself so seriously let it go? Do we just laugh and feel sorry for him? I don't think Roth offers much of a resolution here. The options available are either fallin...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 79 80 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bech: A Book
  • Dubin's Lives
  • La bella estate
  • Jake's Thing
  • The Blood Oranges
  • Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness
  • Una novelita lumpen
  • Short Letter, Long Farewell
  • More Die of Heartbreak
  • The Origin of the Brunists
  • Ninety-two in the Shade
  • Loon Lake
  • Preston Falls
  • The Brotherhood of the Grape
  • Bullet Park
  • Alexis o el tratado del inútil combate
  • Dark Back of Time
  • Leather Maiden
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc...more
More about Philip Roth...
American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1) Portnoy's Complaint The Plot Against America The Human Stain (The American Trilogy, #3) Everyman

Share This Book

“How easy life is when it's easy, and how hard when it's hard.” 55 likes
“Perhaps,' I wearily suggest, 'reading is the opiate of the educated classes.' 'Is it? Are you thinking of becoming a flower child?' he says, lighting up a new cigar.” 1 likes
More quotes…