Unforbidden Pleasures (Paperback)
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AN AMBITIOUS BOOK THAT EXPLORES THE PHILOSOPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND SOCIAL DYNAMICS THAT GOVERN HUMAN DESIRE AND SHAPE OUR EVERYDAY REALITY
A great deal has been written, by psychoanalysts and many others, about the pleasures that are forbidden to us. But what of the pleasures that are unforbidden and freely available to all?
Using Oscar Wilde as a springboard, Phillips takes a deep dive into the function of taboo in society, beginning with the fall of our “first parents,” Adam and Eve, and progressing through the work of the great psychoanalytic thinkers. Forbidden pleasures, he argues, are the ones we tend to think about, yet when we look into it, we may get as much gratification, if not more, from unforbidden pleasures—those things that are easy to attain and socially sanctioned. And we may have underestimated just how restricted our restiveness, in thrall to the forbidden and its rules, makes us.
"Britain's foremost psychoanalytic writer."—The New Yorker
"The most interestingly subversive meditation on modern life I have read for many years. . . . A book that can be read again and again."—New Statesman (Books of the Year: The Essential NS Reading List)
"Reading Adam Phillips on the ways in which we think, act, and behave is among the most . . . enlivening things I can think of."—Interview magazine
"A dense, challenging, provocative meditation on morality and identity."—Kirkus Reviews
"Phillips is . . . a bit like an Oliver Sacks of psychoanalysis, both affable and unalarmed."—The Boston Sunday Globe
"Phillips gives an illuminating account."—The Times Literary Supplement
"[Phillips] writes playfully and suggestively on a topic that tends to get written about in the most unliterary of languages. This attractive quality in his work—its inviting (and mildly paradoxical) combination of the provocative and the ambivalent—is evident from the very beginning of his new collection, Unforbidden Pleasures."—New York Times Book Review
"This slim volume is rich in psychological, philosophical, and literary insight."—Publishers Weekly
"Curiously addictive."—The Millions
"It is a real pleasure to glide through philosophy, literature and psychoanalysis with Adam Phillips. Through his fine essays, one finds oneself paying attention to things that repay reflection without demanding allegiance to a new set of principles."—The Washington Post