Portrait of My Body

Portrait of My Body Cover

Portrait of My Body

By Phillip Lopate

Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385483773, 336pp.

Publication Date: September 12, 1997

Phillip Lopate's richest and most ambitious bookyet--the final volume of a trilogy that began withBachelorhood and AgainstJoie de Vivre--Portrait of MyBody is a powerful memoir in the form ofinterconnected personal essays. One of America'sforemost essayists, who helped focus attention onthe form in his acclaimed anthology TheArt of the Personal Essay, Lopatedemonstrates here just how far a writer can go in thedirection of honesty and risktaking.

In thirteen essays, Lopate explores theresources and limits of the self, its many disguises, excuses, and unmaskings, with his characteristicwry humor and insight. From the title essay, ahilarious physical self-exam, to the hauntingportrait of his ex-colleague Donald Barthelme, to thebittersweet account of his long-delayed surrenderto marriage, "On Leaving Bachelorhood,"Lopate wrestles with finding the proper balancebetween detachment and empathy, doubt andconviction. In other essays, he celebrates his love offilm and city life, and reflects on his religiousidentity as a Jew. A wrenchingly vivid, unforgettable portrait of the author's eccentric, solipsistic, aged father, a self-proclaimed failure, isthe centerpiece of a suite of essays aboutfather-figures and resisted mentors. The book ends withthe author's own introduction to fatherhood, aswitness to the birth of his daughter.

A book that will engage readers with itsconversational eloquence, skeptical intelligence, candor, and mischief, Portrait of MyBody is a captivating work of literarynonfiction.

Praise For Portrait of My Body

"So immensely pleasurable to read--like time spent with a wonderfully intelligent and learned, witty, observant and very open friend. Sometimes you want to argue, but more often to say, 'Oh, right.' I was alternately moved and amused, entertained and enlightened."--Alice Adams

Critical Acclaim for Phillip Lopate:

"Lopate more than fulfills his authorial obligation to be engaging as well as honest. His is the work of a fascinatingly complex individual, clearheaded and intermittently cantankerous, calmly articulate, hungry for truth, and above all, appealingly forthright."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Lopate has the true essayist's gift of living on the page ."--The New York Times

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