Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life

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Addison-Wesley Pub., 1997 - Psychology - 278 pages
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In this eloquent and reflective book, Janna Malamud Smith traces a modern history of privacy, revealing how our inner and outer lives are nurtured by this fragile virtue.Today we enjoy more privacy than ever before, yet the encroachment of the media, computer data gathering, and electronic surveillance in our lives undermines our sense that we have any privacy at all. Smith argues that having a say in when and how we watch one another is key to ongoing debates about freedom. Our ideal of individual liberty—a person who is free to make choices about her own life—is not possible without the protection of privacy.Yet privacy can be used for the wrong reasons. The same condition that sustains intimacy, creativity, and freedom can also be invoked as an abusive kind of secrecy. to explore this paradox Smith looks at privacy refracted through various prisms: the bedroom, the psychiatrist’s couch, the biographer’s quest for information, the presidency and presidential families, the news media, women and their bodies. We see the supple quality of privacy as we look at its role in everyday life; we see how essential it is to our capacity to love and create and think—to our humanity.Combining the emotional sensitivity of a psychotherapist with the insights of a literary writer, Janna Malamud Smith offers a compelling portrait of one of the most precious aspects of life. Her book shows us that, indeed, privacy matters.

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PRIVATE MATTERS: In Defense of the Personal Life

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Lucid historical, literary, psychoanalytic, and (occasionally) personal perspectives on the vexing topic of privacy. In Smith's view, privacy—whether as solitude, anonymity, reserve, or intimacy ... Read full review

Private matters: in defense of the personal life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This book offers an engaging look at the concept of privacy as it is practiced and imagined in contemporary American society. The author, the daughter of the novelist Bernard Malamud, is a practicing ... Read full review


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