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Has psychoanalysis failed to keep its promise? What are psychoanalysis and literature good for? And what, if anything, have they got to do with each other? Promises, Promises is a delightful new collection of essays which sets out to make and break the links between psychoanalysis and literature. It confirms Adam Phillips as a virtuoso performer able to reach far beyond the borders of psychoanalytic discourse into art, drama, poetry and history. This collection gives us insights into anorexia and cloning, the work of Tom Stoppard and A.E. Housman, the effect of the Blitz on Londoners, Nijinsky’s diary and Martin Amis’s Night Train, and provides a case history of clutter. In a final essay, the author turns to the question – why sign up for analysis when you could read a book?
Promoting everywhere a refreshing version of a psychoanalysis that is more committed to happiness and inspiration than to self-knowledge or some absolute truth, Promises, Promises reaffirms Adam Phillips as a writer whose work, in the words of one reviewer, ‘hovers in a strange and haunting borderland between rigour and delight.’
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