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Making a mess

Adam Phillips, 2 February 1989

Mother, Madonna, Whore: The Idealisation and Denigration of Motherhood 
by Estela Welldon.
Free Association, 179 pp., £11.95, November 1988, 1 85343 039 0
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... impossible is at the heart of Freud’s enterprise. In British psychoanalysis, with the work of Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, who were not British, and Winnicott, Bowlby and Fairbairn who were, it was the developmental theory, which Welldon uses, that was taken up, often at the cost of the Freudian unconscious. A confluence of peculiarly disparate ...

A Seamstress in Tel Aviv

Adam Phillips, 14 September 1989

Anna Freud: A Biography 
by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl.
Macmillan, 527 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 333 45526 6
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... important role, in her psychoanalytic projects. Her elaborate and problematic relationship with Melanie Klein, the Institute of Psychoanalysis in London and the International, revealing as they are in the detail with which Young-Bruehl reconstructs them, will mostly be of interest to anthropologists of the psychoanalytic movement. In a sense, she blossomed ...


Adam Phillips: ‘Down Girl’, 7 March 2019

Down Girl: the Logic of Misogyny 
by Kate Manne.
Penguin, 338 pp., £9.99, March 2019, 978 0 14 199072 9
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... by fathers, differing in this respect from the prominent British child analysts Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby. Questions were asked about the significance of the father in child development, and family therapy opened up the family as a system rather than a cult of personality. At the same time we were encouraged to believe ...

On Giving Up

Adam Phillips, 6 January 2022

... or a contagion. And there were versions of psychoanalysis after Freud – most notably those of Melanie Klein – that were more or less about the workings of the so-called death instinct and about working out the ways in which it might be contested and managed.When Freud writes of the silent working of the death instinct, he is describing something ...

My word, Miss Perkins

Jenny Diski: In the Typing Pool, 4 August 2005

Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture 
edited by Leah Price and Pamela Thurschwell.
Ashgate, 168 pp., £40, January 2005, 0 7546 3804 9
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... By the 1980s, there were movies such as Nine to Five and Working Girl, in which Lily Tomlin and Melanie Griffith use body and brain to supplant their bosses, though I suppose these have to be classed as fairytales about the fantasy secretaries who got away, just as Pretty Woman can’t be said to have been depicting the actual upside of prostitution. Over ...

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