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Adam Phillips

15 May 1980
...  ...

Complicated Detours

Frank Kermode: Darwin’s Worms by Adam Phillips

11 November 1999
Darwin's Worms 
by Adam Phillips.
Faber, 148 pp., £7.99, November 1999, 0 571 20003 6
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... a modern approach to the problem. I thought of Sherlock when reading this brief new book by Adam Phillips, which might well be entitled Phillips on Death, and could justly be described as very elegant. Like Sherlock, Phillips thinks something should be done about death. We need ...

The Conversation

D.J. Enright

25 March 1993
On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored 
by Adam Phillips.
Faber, 165 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 571 16925 2
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... This collection of essays by the psychotherapist Adam Phillips is a peculiarly difficult book to review because it reviews itself as it goes along and is hardly to be described in other than its own words. Much of it consists of a flow of sparkling apophthegms: the effect on the reader is not unlike being hit repeatedly on the head by a small, pointed hammer ...

Finding Words

Stanley Cavell

20 February 1997
Terrors and Experts 
by Adam Phillips.
Faber, 128 pp., £6.99, February 1997, 0 571 17584 8
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... EARLY in his lovely and useful book on D.W. Winnicott, published in 1988, Adam Phillips gives a sketch of certain aims and fates of that increasingly treasured figure of British psychoanalysis which maps certain of his own directions in his recent collection of psychoanalytic essays, Terrors and Experts. Winnicott would also enjoy playing off a language of common-sense against a language of professional expertise ...

Doing Heads

Adam Phillips

31 October 1996
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 250 pp., £16, August 1996, 0 670 87001 3
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... In their Introduction to the Picador Book of the New Gothic, Patrick McGrath and Bradford Morrow proposed a familiar kind of progress myth to help us find our way around the New Gothic; the old, or rather, original Gothic being by definition a genre in which the protagonists lost their way in horror or deranged bewilderment. ‘Gothic fiction,’ they wrote, in its earliest days, was known by the props and settings it employed, by its furniture ...
14 May 1992
The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Cape, 245 pp., £18, November 1991, 0 224 03227 5
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... Auden once suggested that a literary critic should declare his ‘dream of Eden’ because ‘honesty demands that he describes it to his readers, so that they may be in a position to judge his judgments.’ Even though psychoanalysis ironises dreams of Eden – in psychoanalytic theory paradise is only for the losers – it would be useful for psychoanalysts to say something about these things, about the kind of world they would prefer to live in, and why they think psychoanalysis is a good way of both spending one’s time and contributing to this Eden ...

The Experts

Adam Phillips

22 December 1994
... After all, one can only say something if one has learned to talk. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations Children unavoidably treat their parents as though they were experts on life. They, and other adults, are the people from whom the child learns what is necessary. But the extent to which children make demands on adults which the adults don’t know what to do with is not sufficiently remarked on ...
12 February 2009
... When you play truant you have a better time. But how do you know what a better time is, or how do you learn what a better time is? You become aware, in adolescence and in a new way, that there are many kinds of good time to be had, and that they are often in conflict with each other. When you betray yourself, when you let yourself down, you have misrecognised what your idea of a good time is; or, by implication, more fully realised what your idea of a good time might really be ...

Judas’ Gift

Adam Phillips: In Praise of Betrayal

5 January 2012
... In 1965-66 the erstwhile folk singer Bob Dylan released a great trilogy of albums, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, and set off on a world tour that would change popular music. At a now famous concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Dylan was playing his new electric and electrifying music when a disaffected folkie in the audience shouted ‘Judas ...

On the Run

Adam Phillips: John Lanchester

2 March 2000
Mr Phillips 
by John Lanchester.
Faber, 247 pp., £16.99, January 2000, 9780571201617
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... the subjects of novels a certain gravity (if not grace) is conferred on them. But even though Mr Phillips is really a book about its title – and about what names entitle people to – the title has to be read in the light of the book’s epigraph. Taken from Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots, it plays off, as epigraphs must, the title of the novel against ...

War Zone

Sherry Turkle

23 November 1989
by Adam Phillips.
Fontana, 180 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 9780006860945
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... never described in terms of the differences between the sexes. In his elegant biographical essay, Adam Phillips characterises Winnicott as ‘disingenuous’ in his efforts to disguise his differences with the father of psychoanalysis. His differences with Melanie Klein, his mentor and supervisor, were equally profound. Here, Winnicott’s efforts to ...
24 January 2013
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 224 pp., £12.99, September 2012, 978 0 571 22521 7
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Our Church: A Personal History of the Church of England 
by Roger Scruton.
Atlantic, 199 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84887 198 4
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... No one can write about religion now without having in mind the new mockery that accompanies the new atheism. The new atheism’s ‘smug emissaries’ – as the blurb of Francis Spufford’s engaging new book calls them, meaning above all Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins – believe in spite of all evidence that eventually the religious will see sense ...
7 March 2013
... No one recovers from the sadomasochism of their childhood. We may not want to think of the relations between parents and children as power relations: indeed it may sound like a perversion of parenting to do so. And we don’t want to think of parents and children being in any way sexually gratified by their status in relation to each other. But, to put it as cutely as possible, feeling big always depends on someone else being made to feel small ...

Haunted by Kindnesses

Michael Wood: The Project of Sanity

21 April 2005
Going Sane 
by Adam Phillips.
Hamish Hamilton, 245 pp., £14.99, February 2005, 0 241 14209 1
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... be released from his hospital in Washington). For D.W. Winnicott and people who share his views, Adam Phillips writes in his new book, ‘the distinction between sanity and madness always has a question-mark over it.’ Phillips doesn’t want to get rid of the question-mark, but he thinks it helps give sanity a bad ...

At Blythe House

Peter Campbell: The V&A’s Working Store

24 June 2010
... become the site of The Concise Dictionary of Dress, a collaboration between the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and the exhibition maker Judith Clark. The project was commissioned by Artangel, which has had a hand in other transformative events – for example, Francis Alÿs’s CCTV footage of a fox exploring the National Portrait Gallery at night. On ...

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