Monogamy

Adam Phillips, Author
Adam Phillips, Author Pantheon Books $17 (144p) ISBN 978-0-679-44264-6
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-679-77617-8
Hardcover - 978-0-517-36141-2
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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.)
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