The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites

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9780375400490: The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites

Growing up is a process of disillusionment, during which we shed the vitality of childhood-or so conventional wisdom has it. In The Beast in the Nursery, Adam Phillips shows why we are so keen to accept this reassuringly disappointing myth. He questions whether our first appetites can survive the acquisition of language, the donning of custom, the onset of education-all the ways in which we learn that the world is not simply what we want it to be. He offers a portrait of the conflict in all of us between the child and the realist, the dreamer and the scientist, the beast and the nursery. For Phillips, our lives are livable only insofar as we do not lose what inspires us, but learn instead how to transform it into guiding knowledge.

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From the Back Cover:

The restoration of a vigorous, wide-ranging interest in life is an admirable goal, and Phillips addresses himself to the task with wit, humane intelligence and . . . sensitivity." --The New York Times Book Review

"Elegantly contentious. . . . There is no one writing better than [Phillips] about desire in all of its complexity, with all of its dark secrets and dark possbility, its necessity and compulsion and satiability. The Beast in the Nursery is a difficult, cerebral and beautiful book." --New York Observer

"[Phillips is] a writer with a unique voice, a gadfly permissive to his own curiosity. His stylistic feints startle us into sympathy with the unexpected." --The Washington Post

"[The] Oliver Sacks of Psychoanalysis. . . . Adam Phillips writes with far-sighted equanimity. " --The Boston Globe

About the Author:

Adam Phillips is the author of Winnicott; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; On Flirtation; Terrors and Experts; and Monogamy. Formerly the principal child psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, he lives in England.

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Adam Phillips
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