Acclaimed author of On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored and On Kindness
A collection of literary essays like no other – exploring the deep connections between literature and psychoanalysis – from Britain’s leading psychoanalyst.
For Adam Phillips – as for Freud and many of his followers – poetry and poets have always held an essential place, as both precursors and unofficial collaborators in the psychoanalytic project. But the same has never held true in reverse. What, Phillips wonders, at the start of this deeply engaging book, has psychoanalysis meant for writers? And what can writing do for psychoanalysis?
Phillips explores these questions through an exhilarating series of encounters with – and vivid readings of – writers he has loved, from Byron and Barthes to Shakespeare and Sebald. And in the process he demonstrates, through his own unique style, how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other.
‘Adam Phillips is that rarest of phenomena, a trained clinician who is also a sublime writer’ – John Banville, author of The Sea
‘Reading Phillips, you may be amused, vexed, dazzled. But the one thing you will never be is bored’ Observer
‘One of those writers whom it is a pleasure simply to hear think’ Sunday Telegraph