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

Description

Phillip Lopate's richest and most ambitious book  yet--the final volume of a trilogy that began with  Bachelorhood and Against  Joie de Vivre--Portrait of My  Body is a powerful memoir in the form of  interconnected personal essays. One of America's  foremost essayists, who helped focus attention on  the form in his acclaimed anthology The  Art of the Personal Essay, Lopate  demonstrates here just how far a writer can go in the  direction of honesty and risk  taking.



In thirteen essays, Lopate explores the  resources and limits of the self, its many disguises,  excuses, and unmaskings, with his characteristic  wry humor and insight. From the title essay, a  hilarious physical self-exam, to the haunting  portrait of his ex-colleague Donald Barthelme, to the  bittersweet account of his long-delayed surrender  to marriage, "On Leaving Bachelorhood,"  Lopate wrestles with finding the proper balance  between detachment and empathy, doubt and  conviction. In other essays, he celebrates his love of  film and city life, and reflects on his religious  identity as a Jew. A wrenchingly vivid,  unforgettable portrait of the author's eccentric,  solipsistic, aged father, a self-proclaimed failure, is  the centerpiece of a suite of essays about  father-figures and resisted mentors. The book ends with  the author's own introduction to fatherhood, as  witness to the birth of his daughter.  



A book that will engage readers with its  conversational eloquence, skeptical intelligence,  candor, and mischief, Portrait of My  Body is a captivating work of literary  nonfiction.



About the Author
Phillip Lopate was born in 1943 Brooklyn, New York in and received a B.A. from Columbia in 1964 and later a doctorate from the Union Graduate School in 1979. He spent twelve years working with children as a writer in schools, and taught creative writing and literature at Fordham, Cooper Union, University of Houston, and New York University. Currently, Lopate holds the Adams Chair at Hofstra University and he is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many awards he has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants. His work includes: These Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open (1972), Being With Children (1975), The Daily Round (1976), Confessions of Summer (1979), Bachelorhood: Tales of the Metropolis (1981), The Art of the Personal Essay (1995), Totally, Tenderly, Tragically (1998), Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (2000), Getting Personal (2003), Rudy Burckhardt: Life and Work (2004), Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan (2004), and American Movie Critics: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now (2006).


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