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What do we mean when we say we are ‘giving up’?

Adam Phillips explores the various implications of the phrase, contrasting giving up smoking or alcohol with giving up hope – and being given up on

17 February 2024

9:00 AM

17 February 2024

9:00 AM

On Giving Up Adam Phillips

Hamish Hamilton, pp.160, 18.99

Oscar Nemon’s statue of Sigmund Freud at the Tavistock Clinic glares out with such a contemptuous look of superior knowledge that Freud’s housekeeper told him it made him look too angry. ‘But I am angry,’ replied Freud. ‘I am angry with humanity.’

Meanwhile, the cover image of Adam Phillips’s new book on psychoanalysis is a detail of a figure from Michelangelo’s ‘Last Judgment’, cast down to damnation, face in hand, his eyes wracked with fear and regret, his muscular ring finger grinding anxiously into his muscular forehead.

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