Portrait of My Body by Phillip Lopate

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

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 Phillip Lopate

See more books from this Author
Phillip Lopate is the author of more than a dozen books, including three personal essay collections, Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body, and Waterfront. He directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
 
Published August 1, 1996 by Doubleday. 325 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Portrait of My Body

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

At once intimate and objective, Lopate's (Bachelorhood, 1981, etc.) further personal essays meander through the latest stages of his life, continuing their sophisticated, witty explorations of it.

| Read Full Review of Portrait of My Body

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In a hilarious and tender essay, he describes taking his young daughter to tea at the Plaza Hotel, simply because he and his wife wanted to provide their daughter with a quintessential Manhattan event: “We were bound and determined to give her all the social graces and sophisticated experiences...

Dec 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Portrait of My Body

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

A series of essays completing the trilogy of Bachelorhood and Against Joie de Vivre finds the author surrendering to marriage.

| Read Full Review of Portrait of My Body

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Veteran essayist Lopate (Bachelorhood) is known as a deft and honest delver into the self, and most of the 13 essays in this collection display those virtues.

| Read Full Review of Portrait of My Body

Rate this book!

Add Review