Houdini's Box by Adam Phillips
The Art of Escape

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Synopsis

In this uniquely 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Adam Phillips

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Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He is the author of many books, including On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; Going Sane; Side Effects; and On Balance. He is also the coauthor, with the historian Barbara Taylor, of On Kindness; with the critic Leo Bersani, of Intimacies; and with the exhibition-maker Judith Clark, of The Concise Dictionary of Dress.
 
Published December 15, 2010 by Vintage. 192 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Religion & Spirituality, Parenting & Relationships, Self Help, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Houdini's Box

Kirkus Reviews

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So is his assertion that “the pornographer works to avert the death of desire” and his bizarre declaration that “in this simple event—dangling, chained upside down, over 150 feet up—the traditional erotic story joined forces with the new economic story: you can make it if you work, if you’ve got ...

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The New York Times

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But he offers no evidence that Houdini's audiences perceived his escapes as a ''spectacle of the naked male body on trial.'' Spectators surely were less likely to come away cheering Houdini's pecs than wondering how he did it.

Aug 12 2001 | Read Full Review of Houdini's Box: The Art of Escape

The Guardian

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Houdini's Box: On the Arts of Escape Adam Phillips Faber & Faber £7.99, pp160 'I am not a magician, but a mystifier.' Houdini was one of the first modern celebrities, his rise to fame running hand-in-cuffed-hand with the development of mass media.

Nov 24 2002 | Read Full Review of Houdini's Box: The Art of Escape

The Guardian

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Houdini's Box Adam Phillips 160pp, Faber, £9.99 Buy it at a discount at BOL We should, perhaps, begin at the very beginning.

Apr 07 2001 | Read Full Review of Houdini's Box: The Art of Escape

The Guardian

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Houdini's Box Adam Phillips Faber £9.99, pp160 Buy it at a discount at BOL One man makes a living out of escaping.

Apr 22 2001 | Read Full Review of Houdini's Box: The Art of Escape

Publishers Weekly

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"We cannot describe ourselves without also describing what we need to escape from, and what we believe we need to escape to," argues psychoanalyst Phillips (Promises, Promises;

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Entertainment Weekly

While Phillips' topic is fascinating and his insights sharp (''If we can keep ourselves sufficiently busy escaping, we can forget that that is what we are doing''), the author's arguments can be convoluted, and his formal tone gives his extended essay a pedantic quality.

Aug 03 2001 | Read Full Review of Houdini's Box: The Art of Escape

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