The Self on the Shelf: Recovery Books and the Good Life

Overview

The Self on the Shelf examines the cultural and philosophical determinants of popular "recovery" books. Greenberg argues that this literature can be read as documents of the prevailing understanding of the self in American society. The construction of the self promoted by recovery literature is seen as a nihilistic one insofar as it denies the significance of what continental philosophy calls the Other. In this sense the self-help books are correct in their assertion that we have lost sight of how to love, but ...
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Overview

The Self on the Shelf examines the cultural and philosophical determinants of popular "recovery" books. Greenberg argues that this literature can be read as documents of the prevailing understanding of the self in American society. The construction of the self promoted by recovery literature is seen as a nihilistic one insofar as it denies the significance of what continental philosophy calls the Other. In this sense the self-help books are correct in their assertion that we have lost sight of how to love, but their proposed solution shows up as a recapitulation and strengthening of the conditions that gave rise to the situation in the first place. Greenberg's critique provides a commentary on the difficulties that face our culture in achieving any sense of meaningful community, and on the way that this problem surfaces in a highly popular discourse.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Greenberg, a psychotherapist in private practice, examines the cultural and philosophical determinants of popular "recovery" books, using this literature as documentation of the prevailing understanding of the self in American society. He shows that self-help books may be correct in their assertion that we have lost sight of how to love, but their proposed solutions are a recapitulation and strengthening of the conditions that gave rise to the situation in the first place. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791420454
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Pages: 287

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Codependence in Context 11
2 The Cat's Grin 37
3 The Contours of the Codependence Genre 67
4 The Codependence Literature as a Moral Discourse 99
5 The Reader's Colloquy with Herself 117
6 The Sole Author in the Social World 147
7 The Codependence Literature as an Instance of Nihilism 187
8 Conclusion: A Reconstitution of Codependence 233
Appendix A 257
Appendix B 259
Notes 263
Bibliography 269
Index 279
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