All of those I remember at the time thinking would set cats among pigeons are here, together with others which, though less likely to offend, have much straight talking. How do they read now? The first began, I imagine, simply as a critique of the Bennite Left and ended famously as a critique of Neil Kinnock.
It argued that the political judgments and electoral sociology upon which the Bennites had based their strategies were demonstrably wrong and often absurd — and also, in the case of the GLC, self-serving. If Labour is serious about winning, Kinnock has to go.
This was truth-telling with a vengeance. As to the Bennites, his strictures are unanswerable and all that has happened in the last three years has confirmed them. Even now, their delusions still appear almost unbelievable, and I do not suppose Johnson would wish to change a word.
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As to Kinnock, it is not clear whether he still adheres to what he said then. But he has shown great pertinacity and considerable political courage over the years, and the stable-cleansing which was, as Johnson would presumably concede, necessary for any Labour recovery could probably have been done only by him — certainly not by Gould. What is interesting is the extent to which an Oxbridge-dominated media — witness the recent Panorama programme — should regard him as fair game.
We should also remember that the last Oxford-educated man to lead the Labour Party was Michael Foot and that its last Oxford-educated prime minister was Harold Wilson. Thompson, one of whom, Thompson, has succumbed to dementia footica. This essay caused much pain and considerable correspondence.
One Way and Another
This essay, as Johnson must have guessed it would be, was much resented. I happen to think he was both right and right to say what he did. How he said it is perhaps a different matter. The essay is written with great polemical vigour, but without restraint: in that sense it is not Orwellian.
First, it is obviously a book he admires; second, he is able to add to it a good deal of interesting and suggestive evidence of his own; third, it is written in a consistently taut style; finally, he makes the point at a time when few were making it just how disastrous the economic policies of the Thatcher Government actually were. Johnson has always been absolutely right about the present government — I hope he is enjoying the present discomfiture of those who hitched their wagon to its star, for he has every right to do so.
Eight of the essays here are about intelligence organisations, and their activities have long been one of his preoccupations. After reading them I am still not quite certain where he stands. An attempt, endeavor. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.
This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form. Tip: To open articles without exiting the current webpage…. However, for Adam Phillips, a practising psychoanalyst who is also a perceptive literary critic, it is "more illuminating" to consider psychoanalysts as poets "rather than failed or aspiring scientists". This attitude is characteristic of how, since the publication of On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored 20 years ago, Phillips has distinguished himself from most psychoanalytical writing.
He is fond of playfully addressing subjects freedom, boredom that he feels his colleagues have neglected, and in a form — the literary essay — far removed from clinical studies. After 17 books, this collection brings together pieces that span Phillips's career, arranged chronologically, although it excludes his writing on literature.
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Apart from an ill-fitting essay on the photographer Diane Arbus , the focus is on psychoanalysis: its history, methods and above all its preoccupations, among them desire, memory and narcissism. Phillips is devoted to Freud and is a lucid expositor of his ideas, especially in The Master-Mind Lectures. He does not put forward theories of his own, though, and for all his flashiness and erudition, there is something modest about his approach.
One Way and Another by Adam Phillips | Waterstones
He is interested in some of the more mundane areas of human behaviour and accepts the limits of his understanding: "the only thing the psychoanalyst can't afford to do," he writes, "is to have too much of a sense that he knows what he is doing. The closest Phillips comes to prescription — or even self-help — is urging modesty on his readers.
We need not, he insists, strive to know ourselves completely, nor be "too convinced of our pleasures" when we wish for things.
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