Promises, Promises: Essays on Literature and Psychoanalysis

Overview

As an essayist, Adam Phillips combines the best of two worlds: a mastery of psychotherapy as both practitioner and theorist, and a reputation as one of the best literary writers around. In this collection of essays, he brings these two gifts to bear upon each other, speculating on the relative merits of psychoanalysis and literature and on the connections between them. In his quirky, epigrammatic style, Phillips shows us how psychoanalysis and literature at their best share the goal of shedding light on human ...

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Overview

As an essayist, Adam Phillips combines the best of two worlds: a mastery of psychotherapy as both practitioner and theorist, and a reputation as one of the best literary writers around. In this collection of essays, he brings these two gifts to bear upon each other, speculating on the relative merits of psychoanalysis and literature and on the connections between them. In his quirky, epigrammatic style, Phillips shows us how psychoanalysis and literature at their best share the goal of shedding light on human character, the most fascinating of disorders.Promises, Promises reveals Phillips as a virtuoso performer able to reach far beyond the borders of psychoanalytic discourse, into art, novels, poetry, and history. This collection gives us insights into Martin Amis's Night Train, Nijinsky's diary, Tom Stoppard and A. E. Housman, Amy Clampitt, the effect of the Blitz on Londoners, and a case history of clutter. It confirms Phillips as a writer whose work, in the words of the Guardian, "hovers in a strange and haunting borderland between rigour and delight."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Phillips, a well-known psychotherapist and literary critic, believes that the "talking cure" of psychoanalysis, dependent as it is upon language, is inextricably linked to literature. Accordingly, he has produced a number of insightful essays that explore the relationship between the literary arts and the unconscious. In this new collection of book reviews, lectures, and critical pieces, Phillips juxtaposes anecdotes from his own psychotherapy practice with discussions of works by an eclectic group of authors: A.E. Housman, Melanie Klein, Fernando Pessoa, Fritz Wittels, and Hart Crane, to name just a few. Not surprisingly, he also includes liberal references in many of the pieces to Freud's writings and theories. A useful addition to interdisciplinary studies, this unique book is recommended for academic collections. Ellen Sullivan, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465056774
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/29/2001
  • Pages: 400
  • Lexile: 1450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Poetry and Psychoanalysis 1
2 Bombs Away 35
3 Clutter: A Case History 59
4 Winnicott's Hamlet 72
5 The Sexual Liberation of Fritz Wittels 92
6 The Manicuring of Jacques Lacan 107
7 Pessoa's Appearances 113
8 On Translating a Person 125
9 Appreciating Pater 148
10 Minding Out 161
11 An Answer to Questions 174
12 Smile 181
13 Martin Amis and the Female Policeman 188
14 Narcissism, For and Against 200
15 Roaring Boy 226
16 Frederick Seidel's New Poetry 238
17 Coming to Grief 257
18 Editing Housman 268
19 On Eating, and Preferring Not To 282
20 The Pragmatics of Passion 296
21 Farber's Quibble 310
22 Prynne Collected 322
23 Christopher Hill's Revolution and Me 326
24 Sameness is All 334
25 Nijinsky's New Diary 342
26 Jokes Apart 347
27 Doing Heads 358
28 Promises, Promises 364
Acknowledgements 376
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