Nathan Zuckerman's Penis: A Critical Overview

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan / PEN American Center / Retna

In this week's New York, Sam Anderson writes a fantastic review of Philip Roth's Exit Ghost that's a masterpiece in the ever-growing field of phallocentric Roth criticism. Writes Anderson:

In Exit Ghost, the series finale, Roth kills off everyone’s favorite character: the upstanding hero of his entire oeuvre, divining rod of his fictional vision, gushing fountainhead of the famous vitality, pulsing column of strength at the center of his books’ elaborate architecture, perpetually pumping piston of his ever-thrusting narrative engine — the main vein, if you will, of the author’s fully engorged imagination. But before I get myself blocked by your spam filter, let me just whip it out: Zuckerman’s mighty penis, conqueror of professional ballerinas and Hollywood beauties, is dead.


Anderson's review sets a new standard in discussions of Nathan Zuckerman's wang. (Fittingly, we hasten to add, and not at all gratuitously, since it's Zuckerman's wang with which Roth is obsessed throughout the novel.)

The previous leader in this category was Christopher Hitchens, who, in an Atlantic review that can only be called Hitchensesque, refers to Zuckerman's "flaccid and piss-soaked member" and takes Roth to task for his obsession with … um … well, despite years of Roth's reign over the American literary landscape, it seems weird to say "face-fucking," but, yeah.

Who will follow Sam Anderson's lead? Who will devote the most inches to Zuckerman's wang? Lovers of literature demand to know!

Schlong of Myself [NYM]
Zuckerman Undone [The Atlantic via Powell's]