The Anatomy Lesson

The Anatomy Lesson At forty the writer Nathan Zuckerman comes down with a mysterious affliction pure pain beginning in his neck and shoulders invading his torso and taking possession of his spirit Zuckerman whose w

  • Title: The Anatomy Lesson
  • Author: Philip Roth
  • ISBN: 9780099476610
  • Page: 473
  • Format: Paperback
  • At forty, the writer Nathan Zuckerman comes down with a mysterious affliction pure pain, beginning in his neck and shoulders, invading his torso, and taking possession of his spirit Zuckerman, whose work was his life, is unable to write a line Now his work is trekking from one doctor to another, but none can find a cause for the pain and nobody can assuage it ZuckermaAt forty, the writer Nathan Zuckerman comes down with a mysterious affliction pure pain, beginning in his neck and shoulders, invading his torso, and taking possession of his spirit Zuckerman, whose work was his life, is unable to write a line Now his work is trekking from one doctor to another, but none can find a cause for the pain and nobody can assuage it Zuckerman himself wonders if the pain can have been caused by his own books And while he is wondering, his dependence on painkillers grows into an addiction to vodka and marijuanaThe third volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound, The Anatomy Lesson is a great comedy of illness and provides some of the funniest scenes in all of Roths s fiction as well as some of the fiercest.

    One thought on “The Anatomy Lesson”

    1. This is the funniest of the Zuckerman Unbound tetrology and a fantastic read. Again, Nathan is living in the aftermath of the publication and scandal surrounding his book Carnovsky (Portnoy's Complaint in Roth's real life). He is in constant physical pain with 4, then 5, mistresses and decides to drop writing and go to medical school in Chicago. In Chicago, his female limo driver Ricky is treated to his impersonation of a literary rival who Nathan transforms into a pornographer. This is a wonder [...]

    2. “Pain is like a baby crying. What it wants it can't name.” ― Philip Roth, The Anatomy LessonThe Anatomy Lesson is book # 3 in the Zuckerman Bound trilogy. The first two being The Ghost Writer and Zuckerman Unbound. The Prague Orgy is also included often, as it is the epilogue (thus turning the trilogy into a tetralogy. Anyway, like all of the Zuckerman novels, Roth is brutal in his introspection. Zuckerman has bottled up his anger at his moralist critics and mental anguish at the death of [...]

    3. In the previous book in the Zuckerman Bound series, entitled Zuckerman Unbound, we see that the novelist Zuckerman, castigated (particularly by Jews) for his popular and funny novel Carnovsky, about a lecherous young Jewish man (such as Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint). Carnovsky’s Newark Jewish community and his family are horrified that they see his family in this novel. This is a deliberate ploy on Roth’s part, to say that his characters have nothing and everything to do with his own life. [...]

    4. La lezione di anatomia è una grande domanda sul dolore. Su un dolore fisico che non dipende per forza, freudianamente, da cause psicologiche, ma che obbliga Nathan Zuckerman a fare i conti con la sua vita, con quella che è stata e con quella che sarà. La sua vita di scrittore, infatti, l'ha portato a ripiegarsi su se stesso (fino a farsi venire mal di schiena), l'ha spinto a spremere tutta la sua interiorità. Non scrive più da quattro anni, non ha più niente da scrivere su di sé, non ries [...]

    5. What is perhaps so striking about this book is that Philip Roth depicts an aging writer who, because of undiagnosed physical pain, has stopped writing filling his world with doubt and despair. Zuckerman's pain is very much an investigation of Roth's own biographical highlights. Roth too recovered from surgery, stopped finding writing worthwhile, and was attacked over and over again for his most infamous novel Portnoy's Complaint i.e. "Carnovsky." So disillusioned with writing is Zuckerman that h [...]

    6. If the first half of this book didn't exist, the book would've earned three/three and a half stars. But the first 150 pages or so are completely unfocused, boring, and incredible (though I've heard much of what happens in the book actually happened to Roth in real life--a claim that is irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned)that I nearly hurled this book across the room at several points during my arduous attempts at finishing it. The Anatomy Lesson was my first and LAST experience with Roth.

    7. Nathan Zuckerman is forty, married and divorced three times. Both his parents are now dead, his mother from a sudden brain tumor. His brother isn't speaking to him. His brother's wife only utters the most rudimentary comments - out of fear of being quoted in Zuckerman's next novel. Zuckerman has severe writer's block, and severe pain in his neck, back, shoulders. He spends much of the day down on a "playmat" in his apartment, being sexually serviced by four or five different women, and servicing [...]

    8. Perhapsrhaps the comparisons to Kafka aren't entirely unjustified. ***My "problem" with approaching Roth has always been the instinct that his books were about him. Well, no surprise: they are. Or at least this one is.Even the dialogue comes off sounding like he's sitting there at his typewriter, furiously talking to himself putting the anger into Zuckerman's voice, and the dissenting opinion into the voice of the Female Who Adores Him. "Push!""Pull!"Or, more correctly:"Jews push!""Jews pull!"Or [...]

    9. It was arguably a mistake to read "The Anatomy Lesson" without first reading the previous two books in the Zuckerman series, but the third installment works fine on its own, especially if the reader has a working knowledge of Philip Roth's own history. One can easily mentally replace "Carnovsky," the book for which author Nathan Zuckerman became famous, with Roth's own "Portnoy's Complaint," and all becomes clear. (I read "Portnoy's Complaint" many, many years ago, but it's not a book one quickl [...]

    10. I liked this but it was just too long. I enjoyed 'The Ghost Writer' and 'Zuckerman Unbound' because they were both short and easier to absorb. This one is twice the length and that is twice as long as I wanted to spend in the poisonous world of Nathan Zuckerman. About halfway through I stopped caring about Zuckerman: I wished he would just go and kill himself so I could be finished with the story. But on it goes for another 100 pagesAs usual with Roth, he lightens things up with some comic momen [...]

    11. (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)As regular visitors know, I'm in the midst of reading all nine of the autobiographical "Nathan Zuckerman" novels that author Philip Roth has penned over the decades, from 1979's The Ghost Writer to 2007's Exit Ghost. And that's because, as a newish book critic (only three years full-time now), I'm continually [...]

    12. Up until the book's fifth act, it's typical Roth, typical Zuckerman in its themes and voice: sex, being Jewish in America, the politics of the 60s and 70s, relations with your family, the artist and his art and the public's confused entanglement of the two. Then in the book's concluding chapter it becomes something else entirely, at first almost surreal then ending in an almost lyrical sweep through human suffering and mortality that is almost Greek tragedy in its catharsis and conclusion. Amazi [...]

    13. Far and away the most rewarding of the first three Zuckerman books. Is that because Roth is just a less cliched character as he gets older? I find that hard to believe. But it makes me wonder- if you're writing what is essentially autobiography, and you're committed to not lying, how hard is it to attain any artistic unity? Not sure Roth did it in the Ghost Writer or in Z. Unbound; here he manages a bit better. Maybe that's just because the Portrait of the Young Artist thing of GW is mind boggli [...]

    14. "Il problema non è che tutto dev'essere un libro. È che ogni cosa può essere un libro. E non conta, come vita, finché non lo è."Sono passati due anni da quando ho cominciato a leggere le opere di Philip Roth e, ormai, mi posso considerare una lettrice esperta di questo autore, per quanto mi manchino ancora da leggere diverse sue opere e che sia consapevole che, finché non avrò letto la sua intera bibliografia, non potrò dire di conoscerlo come chi, invece, l'ha già fatto.Come è giusto [...]

    15. In my review of the previous volume of the Zuckerman Bound series, I noted that I had just finished Updike’s Bech stories, and how Zuckerman wasn’t as woman-focused as Bech was after they both reached fame from their first books, and I wondered if in the next volume, this book, Zuckerman would take a turn toward womanizing. I can tell you that I feel my “prediction” was correct, although with Zuckerman it doesn’t seem as much about love or lust, but it seems to be strangely medical. Zu [...]

    16. Philip Roth's The Anatomy Lesson begins with perennial Roth hero Nathan Zuckerman kvetching and moaning about how hard it is to date four women at once. Thus it's peak mid-career Roth, wondering why and how his dick dried up and how he can't possibly keep satisfying all these insatiable women while maintaining his own manhood. It's easy to caricature Roth's work as an endless parade of onanism, mostly because books like this do it for you; sure, there's some navel-gazing about the pitfalls of su [...]

    17. Philip Roth is a master of comedy.his work is exceptionalry well writtenld and on your face!!! Absolutely brilliant!!!

    18. I continue to get sucked in by Roth -- a phrasing that Philip would indeed love, as I discover more and more his exploration of the themes of not only his Jewishness but that of sexuality. In general this book covers themes that his earlier works has as well, but what I'm really loving (especially with the Zuckerman series) is his method of playing around with the writer's mentality as Zuckerman (the fictional writer) explores his work and his art and its effect as a way of mirroring his own (Ro [...]

    19. The Anatomy Lesson is the third in Philip Roth's Nathan Zuckerman novels. It stands alone - you don't need to be familiar with the earlier books to understand Zuckerman or this story.Nathan Zuckerman has filled many pages of Philip Roth's novels over the decades. Whether or not he reflects any of Roth's own experiences as an author, Zuckerman is a fully developed character, and never more so than in The Anatomy Lesson.Here we're introduced to Zuckerman's chronic pain. He has visited numerous hea [...]

    20. The Anatomy Lesson is the third in the Zuckerman Bound trilogy after The Ghost Writer and Zuckerman Unbound. In the first he was the young writer who has upset his family, in the second he is the celebrity who has pissed of the entire Jewish identity. In this book, we see Nathan Zuckerman at his lowest ebb. He is in constant pain for no apparent reason and begins to believe he is being punished for his transgressions as a writer; so much so that he no longer wants to be who he is. He pretends at [...]

    21. Another excellent and mind twisting read from a well deserved author Philip Roth. The is definitely entertaining, but not as much a page turn as Zuckerman Unbound, but still a page turner. Now, with all the great plot and interesting page turning why does this book gets a 4 star, 1 star short from being perfect? I started reading this book just about the time when an old injury or a few started to inflame to the point when 3 doctors visits, X-rays, pain meds hard and soft didn't elevate the pres [...]

    22. Il miglior libro della (virtuale, ma manco tanto) trilogia che ha come protagonista Nathan Zuckerman. Rispetto a Lo scrittore fantasma e a Zuckerman scatenato, qui Roth ha un unico obiettivo: una freccia è piantata in un albero ed egli le gira intorno, sviscerandocene tutte le sfumature. Zuckerman soffre di un mal di testa-collo che lo blocca non solo fisicamente, ma anche nella scrittura. Il successo di Carnovsky è ancora un fardello, ed infatti egli dà la colpa di questo dolore alla scrittu [...]

    23. this is the conclusion to the first zuckerman trilogy of roth's series. From what i understand, this first collection of zuckerman books (continued with The Prague Orgy) is more about the life of the artist and the writing process and the lows and highs of being a popular author. Contrary to this, the later zuck books actually expand from these themes and deal with characters other than zuckerman himself. Of these first three, i found zuckerman unbound to be the most entertaining to read. it was [...]

    24. There are parts of the book that are worthy of four stars, but they were few and far between. As with the previous Zuckerman novels, it improved greatly as it progressed, but the first third of the novel I found incredibly tiresome. I hate it when authors have to respond to their critics within their books (I found it petty when Tina Fey responded to internet commenters in 'Bossypants' as well), and having a literary alter ego respond to a fictional critic is one of the most trifling acts I can [...]

    25. For the first half of the book, I thought this was going to be my favorite Zuckerman book. Nathan Zuckerman, put down by some serious pain that no one had been able to find the source of, stoops to the level of possibly letting happen what he'd been resisting through Zuckerman Unbound, and that was becoming his own character, Carnovsky. Like the previous book, Zuckerman still has some struggles with his fame, but some passages are LOL-funny. The extrmism and downright horniness of the writing be [...]

    26. Do you pinch your arm to try to distract yourself from the pain of a stubbed toe? Warning: you may start to feel sympathetic pain if you set this book down midstream. It's as if Nathan Zuckerman will leave you alone only so long as you keep on with his narrative. Otherwise, he'll start to project his suffering on you, until you've finished the novel. My father says, "Roth can be an acquired taste." I believe everything my father says, but especially in this case. So, if you don't like Roth, fine [...]

    27. As always, Roth's prose is breathtaking, and engaging every step of the way. But I'm getting awfully tired of whiny-ass Zuckerman. It's amazing how Roth keeps finding new ways to weave innumerable handsome sentences out of what are essentially the same three or four of Zuckerman's problems. I found it amusing that Zuck's big goal is to escape the solipsistic life of the novelist, while this novel—The Anatomy Lesson—is built entirely on a foundation of solipsism. Obviously Roth knows that, so [...]

    28. Nathan Zuckerman and his doppelganger Philip Roth have grown on me. While not exactly likable, Nathan at age 41 in this installment of the Zuckerman trilogy helped me to understand the method of Roth's fictions. They are totally centered in one single consciousness. I guess that should be obvious, but somehow the intensity of Nathan's ruminating and suffering here made the obvious hit me over the head. There was a funny section (both ha ha and strange)in this novel that showed how the novelist c [...]

    29. Accurate title I don't really want to talk about it, and maybe it should have rated three stars for its lack of narrative cohesion but who else can attempt to write a comic novel about back pain and end up collapsing in a cemetery and breaking everything but his teeth, then somehow those as well. Do I feel sorry for Zuckerman? Is his Jewish, heterosexual-identified body more fragile than my own? (We both have experienced jaw-wiring and fellatio, in this case even toyed with as an *active* purs [...]

    30. If one forgets that Zuckerman had six more proper books, “Anatomy Lesson’s” ending could serve as a fitting coda to the (in that case) Zuckerman trilogy. Like “Unbound,” it is a very navel-centric work, settling scores with the intellectual New Yorkers who turned on Roth in the late 50’s and early 60’s. To some extent, it is a literary kin to Dylan’s post-folk work, when he broke with a similarly angry group of New York Jews, a mix tape of “Positively 4th Street,” “Fourth T [...]

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