Adam Phillips is the author of Winnicott; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; On Flirtation; and Terror and Experts. Formerly the principal child psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, he lives in England.
Monogamy, suggests English psychoanalyst Phillips in this iconoclastic meditation, is-like infidelity-a compulsion rooted in our need for hope and reassurance. At its too-frequent worst, he notes, monogamous marriage degenerates into dulling routine and sexual boredom; at its best, it becomes a way of reducing our multiple, disparate selves to a manageable number, giving coherence and meaning to our lives and enabling us to grow. Full of irony and paradox, spiked with psychoanalytic insights, these 120 aphoristic mini-essays-most of them half a page or so in length-titillate but rarely satisfy. Many are as obscure as Zen koans or as pontifical as R.D. Laing. Phillips, whose previous books (On Flirtation; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored) have won acclaim, tantalizingly explores how societal ideals of monogamy color our assumptions about love, sex, passion, self-pleasuring, jealousy, identity and relationships. (Jan.)
"Wonderful . . . Phillips's great gift as a writer is for aphorism and paradox, and that is the joy of Monogamy." --Esquire
"Adam Phillips writes with far-sighted equanimity. . . . In this regard, he's a little like an Oliver Sacks of psychoanalysis, both affable and unalarmed." --The Boston Globe "Phillips's reflections on monogamy are both discomforting and comforting." --The Washington Post Book World "Playful, brilliant . . . profound . . . keeps us faithful to the last page."--The New York Observer