Latest Issue

The fading of Freud

Talking cures have their place, but psychoanalytic theory has faded into brain science. Adam Phillips's attempt to define sanity is beside the point

By Brenda Maddox   April 2005

Going Sane by Adam Phillips (Hamish Hamilton, £14.99)

Adam Phillips’s favourite pronoun is “we.” He assumes an audience of like-minded people who have read the same books and who warm to generalisations such as “we don’t think of babies as sane,” and “we have become the only animals who cannot bear themselves.”

In his latest book, Going Sane, this prolific psychoanalytic populariser develops the idea that “we” need a new definition of sanity. “We can’t quite work out how our lives would be better, or even different, if we were sane.”

Whom is he talking to? Not me. Certainly…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect