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Attention Seeking

Adam Phillips


Attention Seeking Download image

ISBN10: 0374539278
ISBN13: 9780374539276

Trade Paperback

144 Pages



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Based on three connected lectures by Adam Phillips, this compact book is a lucid and memorable introduction to the concept of our attention, spanning from interest to obsession, private desire to corporate commodity. What is attention, and why do we seek it? How does our culture moralize attention as a force in need of control? Phillips is one of our brightest and most unusual thinkers, uniquely capable of bringing our deepest impulses and instincts to light.


Praise for Attention Seeking

"In Attention Seeking, his most recent essay collection, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips challenges the assumption that what we are attracted to, and thus what we pay attention to, in some respects defines who we are . . . This might seem familiar, even trite, to those versed in psychoanalysis . . . Yet, as with Phillips’ other writing, it’s less the destination and more the journey that counts. He doesn’t exactly offer answers or conclusions; and if he did, these would be neither earth-shatteringly original nor easy to summarise. Nonetheless, braided together by his preferred punctuation mark, the semicolon, his musings and hairpin turns of thought are thrillingly convoluted; what might harden into dictum is always teased out in all its subtle permutations."—Totally Dublin

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business.

Gertrude Stein, ‘What is English Literature’

Everything depends on what, if anything, we find interesting –...

About the author

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips, formerly a principal child psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital, London, is a practicing psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English Department at the University of York. He is the author of numerous works of psychoanalysis and literary criticism, including Missing Out, In Writing, and Unforbidden Pleasures. A frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, he is the general editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Jerry Bauer

Adam Phillips