Tuesday, March 23, 2021

"During a trip to Italy, [his wife] gets behind the wheel of a Renault and speeds along a mountainside road outside of Siena."

"Suddenly, like Nicole in 'Tender Is the Night,' she declares, 'I’m going to kill both of us!' Roth grabs the wheel, and they continue on to the Rhône Valley. Roth started seeing Hans Kleinschmidt, an eccentric name-dropping psychoanalyst, three or four days a week. Asked later how he could justify the expense ($27.50 a session), Roth said, 'It kept me from killing my first wife.' He told Kleinschmidt that he fantasized about dropping into the Hoffritz store on Madison Avenue and buying a knife. 'Philip, you didn’t like the Army that much,' Kleinschmidt told him. 'How will you enjoy prison?'... Roth has a fling with Alice Denham, Playboy’s Miss July, 1956, who, as her cheerfully unapologetic memoir 'Sleeping with Bad Boys' revealed, also slept with Nelson Algren, James Jones, Joseph Heller, and William Gaddis. 'Manhattan was a river of men flowing past my door, and when I was thirsty I drank,' she wrote. So did Roth. Roth and [his first wife] finally split up in 1963."

From "The Secrets Philip Roth Didn’t Keep/Roth revealed himself to his biographer as he once revealed himself on the page, reckoning with both the pure and the perverse" (The New Yorker).

Here's Denham's rather decorous Playboy centerfold from 1956, when sex, apparently, entailed pillow fights, with feathers flying, and a big fluffy feather was always right there as an impromptu pastie, lest you see too much. 

I had to look up "pastie," because... is it "pasty" or "pastie"? Don't want any mixup with the meat pie. Turns out it's either "pasty" or "pastie," and, really, how often do you need the singular? But I did get to while away a few moments — disrupting my contemplation of the "a river of men" that was Manhattan in the 50s — with the Wikipedia article "Pasties"

There, I encountered this photograph — cc by Mark Lidikay — captioned "A group of women protesting for the right to go topless anywhere a man could. Venice Beach California. The demonstrator with the microphone is wearing a pastie in the shape of a nipple":

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