Freud Museum London: Psychoanalysis Podcasts A treasure trove of ideas in psychoanalysis. History, theory, and psychoanalytic perspectives on a diverse range of topics. www.freud.org.uk

September 8, 2017  

Taking his latest novel An English Guide to Birdwatching as a starting point, Nicholas Royle talks with psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips about how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other.

An English Guide to Birdwatching

Dazzling in its linguistic playfulness and formal invention, An English Guide to Birdwatching explores the rich hinterland between fact and fiction. In its focus on birds, climate change, the banking crisis, social justice and human migration, it is intensely relevant to wider political concerns; in its mischievous wit and wordplay, it pushes the boundaries of what a novel might be. Royle’s novel engages deeply with Freud, especially in the context of ‘the uncanny’.

“This is a novel operating at the outer edges of the form, deep in the avant-garde... play[ing] brilliantly in the fertile ground between fiction and memoir. An English Guide to Birdwatching is Rachel Cusk rewritten by Georges Bataille, full of strange sex, sudden violence and surreal twists. Illuminated throughout with gorgeous illustrations by Natalia Gasson, this is a novel that will charm, unsettle and baffle in equal measure.”

Alex Preston, Financial Times

An English Guide to Birdwatching is available from the Freud Museum Shop.

Nicholas Royle has been Professor of English at the University of Sussex since 1999. He established the MA/PhD programme in Creative and Critical Writing in 2001 and is founding director of the Centre for Creative and Critical Thought. He has published many critical books, including Telepathy and Literature (1991), The Uncanny (2003) and Veering (2011), as well as numerous essays about Freud, literature and psychoanalysis. His first novel, Quilt, was published in 2010.

Adam Phillips is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books, the Observer and the New York Times, and he is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations. In his latest publication In Writing (Hamish Hamilton, June 2017) Phillips celebrates the art of close reading and asks what it is to defend literature in a world that is increasingly devaluing language.

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Adam Phillips in conversation with Deborah Levy

     
Unforbidden Pleasures is the dazzling new book from Adam Phillips, author of Missing Out and Going Sane.

Adam Phillips takes Oscar Wilde as a springboard for a deep dive into the meanings and importance of the Unforbidden, from the fall of our 'first parents' Adam and Eve to the work of the great twentieth-century psychoanalytic thinkers.

Unforbidden pleasures, he argues, are always the ones we tend not to think about, yet when you look into it, it is probable that we get as much pleasure, if not more, from them. And we may have underestimated just how restricted our restrictiveness, in thrall to the forbidden and its rules, may make us.

Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and the author of several previous books, all widely acclaimed, including On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored, Going Sane and Side Effects. His most recent books are On Kindness, co-written with the historian Barbara Taylor, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life, On Balance and One Way and Another.

‘Every mind-blowing book from Adam Phillips suspends all the certainties we are most attached to and somehow makes this feel exhilarating’ - Deborah Levy

‘Phillips radiates infectious charm. The brew of gaiety, compassion, exuberance and idealism is heady and disarming’ - Sunday Times

‘Phillips is one of the finest prose stylists at work in the language, an Emerson for our time’ - John Banville

Unforbidden Pleasures is published by Hamish Hamilton (5 November 2015)

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she is the author of highly praised books including The Unloved, Swallowing Geography, and Beautiful Mutants. Her novel Swimming Home was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2012 Levy adapted two of Freud's case histories, Dora and The Wolfman for BBC Radio 4. Things I Don’t Want to Know is the title of Levy’s sparkling response to George Orwell’s essay ‘Why I Write’, an autobiographical essay on writing, gender politics and philosophy. Her new novel, Hot Milk, will be published in 2016 by Hamish Hamilton.

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Giles Fraser in conversation with Adam Phillips


Dr. Giles Fraser is a well known cultural commentator, priest and vicar of St Mary's Newington. He took a controversial stand on Occupy at St Paul's, resigning his post there in the process. He is also passionate about psychoanalysis.

Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and writer, author of many celebrated books, among them Missing Out and Promises, Promises. He has just finished a biography of the young Freud, who understood religion as an illusion.

Together they discuss psychoanalysis and religion.
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