On Flirtation by Adam PhillipsOn Flirtation by Adam Phillips

On Flirtation

byAdam Phillips

Paperback | March 1, 1996

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People tend to flirt only with serious things--madness, disaster, other people's affections. So is flirtation dangerous, exploiting the ambiguity of promises to sabotage our cherished notions of commitment? Or is it, as Adam Phillips suggests, a productive pleasure, keeping things in play, letting us get to know them in different ways, allowing us the fascination of what is unconvincing? This is a book about the possibilities of flirtation, its risks and instructive amusements--about the spaces flirtation opens in the stories we tell ourselves, particularly within the framework of psychoanalysis.

Phillips looks at life as a tale to be told but rejects the idea of a master plot. Instead, he says, we should be open to the contingent, and flirtation shows us the way. His book observes children flirting with their parents, our various selves flirting with one another, and literature flirting with psychoanalysis. As Phillips explores the links between literature and psychoanalysis--ranging from Philip Roth to Isaac Rosenberg, Karl Kraus to John Clare--psychoanalysis emerges as a multi-authored autobiography. Its subjects are love, loss, and memory; its authors are the analyst and the analysand, as well as the several selves brought to life in the process. A passionate and delightfully playful defense of the virtues of being uncommitted, On Flirtation sets before us the virtue of a yet deeper commitment to the openendedness of our life stories.

Adam Phillips is Principal Child Psychotherapist in the Wolverton Gardens Child and Family Consultation Centre, London.
Title:On FlirtationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.03 inPublished:March 1, 1996Publisher:Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674634403

ISBN - 13:9780674634404

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Table of Contents



On Flirtation: An Introduction

I. The Uses of the Past

1. Contingency for Beginners

2. Freud and the Uses of Forgetting

3. On Love

4. On Success

5. Besides Good and Evil

6. The Telling of Selves

II. Psychoanalysis Reviewed

7. Depression

8. Anna Freud

9. Perversion

10. Freud and Jones

11. Cross-Dressing

12. Erich Fromm

13. Guilt

14. Freud's Circle

15. Futures

III. Writing Outside

16. Philip Roth's Patrimony

17. Isaac Rosenberg's English

18. Karl Kraus's Complaint

19. John Clare's Exposure



From Our Editors

The author of On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored illuminates the possibilities of flirtation--its risks and instructive amusements--and the spaces flirtation opens in the stories we tell ourselves, particularly within the framework of psychoanalysis. The book reveals the virtues of being committed to the open-endedness of life.

Editorial Reviews

[Phillips'] writing is strong and lucid...[He] writes of his work with child and adult patients in the moving and exciting way that marked the clinical writings of D.W. Winnicott and the early works of M. Masud R. Khan.Phillips writes as a "flirt"--in the special sense he defines in his opening essay--but how much richer his book is for that. Before next going into print, the envious rivals and embittered former lovers who nowadays cluster around Freud's name should all report to Phillips for a lesson in flirtation.