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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."
About 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.