Why We Remain in the Dark

224pp 2013 LIST PRICE: £20.00 Y037



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The war over private life spreads inexorably. Some seek to expose, invade and steal it, others to protect, conceal and withhold it. Either way, the assumption is that privacy is a possession to be won or lost. But what if what we call private life is the one element in us that we can't possess? Could it be that we’re so intent on taking hold of the privacy of others, or keeping hold of our own only because we’re powerless to do either? Cohen, a psychoanalyst and literature professor, explores the concept of private life as the presence in us of someone else, an uncanny stranger both unrecognisable and eerily familiar, who can be neither owned nor controlled. In a culture that floods our lives with light, he asks, how is it that we remain so helplessly in the dark?

Highly topical and fascinating . . . Summoning literature from Milton to Sophocles, Cohen concludes that our only hope now may be to protect things that should remain unknown. DAILY TELEGRAPH