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I feel guilty

Adam Phillips

11 March 1993
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and Further Psychoanalytic Explorations 
by Nina Coltart.
Free Association, 200 pp., £15.95, December 1992, 1 85343 186 9
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The Damned and the Elect 
by Friedrich Ohly, translated by Linda Archibald.
Cambridge, 211 pp., £30, September 1992, 0 521 38250 5
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... irreverent, mostly of ourselves – has gone on worshipping, indeed promoting, some of the oldest idols of our emotional life. As both these very persuasive books show in a complementary way – Ohly from a literary-historical perspective and Coltart from a mostly psychoanalytic one – guilt has been the cornerstone of our Western conception of human nature. A capacity for guilt seems to define ...

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