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Houdini’s Box explores four different escape artists. There is the case history of the little girl who is oddly committed to playing her own wayward version of hide-and-seek. There is Harry Houdini, “the greatest magician the world has ever seen,” an assimilated Jew and immigrant escapee who compulsively reinvents and re-enacts his own confinement. There is a patient of Phillips’s who has come to him after being badgered by his (ex-) girlfriend, who says she wants to help “his next ex.” He is a man who has become entranced, not with woman as object of desire, but with flight from woman, a man hypnotized by the infinite freedom of escape, always arriving at the place from which he is escaping. And finally, there is the poet Emily Dickinson, who for the last twenty years of her life found freedom in self-imposed solitary confinement.
Whether we are getting away from something or getting away with something, we cannot describe ourselves without also describing what we need to escape from and what we want to escape to. In this, his most captivating book to date, Adam Phillips reminds us why people often feel most alive in the very moment of escape.
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uely brilliant and insightful book, acclaimed essayist and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips meditates on the notion of escape in our society and in ourselves.
No one can escape the desire and need to escape. By analyzing four examples of escape artists—a young girl who hides from others by closing her eyes; a grown man incapable of a relationship; Emily Dickinson, recluse extraordinaire; and Harry Houdini, the quintessential master of escape—Phillips enables readers to identify the escape artists lurking within themselves. Lucid, erudite, and audacious, Houdini's Box is another scintillating and seminal work by one of the world's most dazzlingly original thinkers.
“Adam Phillips does not seek to pin his escape artists down. He offers no glib analysis, but compassionate insight instead. It sounds simple, yet this is a rare achievement—as remarkable a piece of tightrope walking as Houdini ever performed himself.” —Daily Telegraph
“Houdini’s Box purports to explore a discrete subject, but is really a guide to life. Like Phillips’s previous meditations, it provokes without foreclosing. Escape, we learn, is both a symptom and an end in itself. It is impossible—since death and the past are ineluctable—and exhilarating.” —The Economist
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Book Description Pantheon. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0375406360. Seller Inventory # A29-117
Book Description Pantheon, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0375406360
Book Description Pantheon, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0375406360
Book Description Pantheon, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110375406360