Promises, Promises: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature

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As an essayist, Adam Phillips combines the best of two worlds: the mastery of psychotherapy as a practitioner and a theorist-and a reputation as one of the best literary writers around. In this collection of essays, he brings the two gifts to bear upon each other, reaching far beyond the borders of psychoanalytic discourse into art, novels, poetry, and history to speculate on the relative merits of psychoanalysis and literature. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Sunday Times of London
The many and varied essays in Adam Phillips's book effervesce with interest.
New York Observer
When I imagine Adam Phillips writing these essays, I see him in a giant sandbox of ideas, happily pouring poetry and case history from one colored plastic pail into another.... The essays' joy is infectious.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465056781
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 645,003
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Phillips has been called "the closest thing we have to a philosopher of happiness." Formerly Principal Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, Phillips is the author of such works as Winnicott; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; Monogamy; On Flirtation; Terror and Experts; Darwin's Worms; Promises, Promises; and Houdini's Box.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi
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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