The Breast (1972) is a novella by Philip Roth, in which the protagonist, David Kepesh, becomes a 155-pound breast. Throughout the book Kepesh fights with himself. Part of him wishes to give in to bodily desires, while the other part of him wants to be rational. Kepesh, a literature professor, compares his plight with that of fictional characters such as Gregor Samsa in Kafka's short story The Metamorphosis and Kovalyov in Nikolai Gogol's short story "The Nose". Throughout the novel, he describes the various sexual and physical feelings he has while people handle him, while initiating sex with his girlfriend, and while he is alone.

The Breast
The Breast by Philip Roth cover scan.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorPhilip Roth
CountryUnited States
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
LC ClassPZ4.R8454 Br PS3568.O855
Followed byThe Professor of Desire 

During a stay on the beach with his girlfriend, Claire, Kepesh had wished to have breasts, to be a breast, and he struggles with the idea that apparently this wish was fulfilled while other more important wishes were not.

Further readingEdit

  • Gardner, John (September 17, 1972). "The Breast". The New York Times.