No Words Wasted Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Interviews | January 9, 2015

    Chris Faatz: IMG Jill Maxick of Prometheus Books: The Interview

    For decades, Prometheus Books has put out titles we both love and respect. Prometheus is the leading publisher in the United States of books on free... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Psychology- Mood Disorders and Depression

Regret: The Persistence of the Possible


Regret: The Persistence of the Possible Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"We are a people who do not want to keep much of the past in our heads," Lillian Hellman once wrote. "It is considered unhealthy in America to remember mistakes, neurotic to think about them, psychotic to dwell upon them." Yet who in their lifetime has never regretted a lost love, a missed opportunity, a path not taken? Indeed, regret is perhaps a universal experience, but while poets and novelists have long explored its complexities, very little has been written from a scholarly perspective that examines this emotion. Now, in Regret, Janet Landman takes a lively and perceptive look at this multifaceted phenomenon.

Much as Anthony Storr did in his best-selling Solitude, Landman here provides an insightful anatomy of an emotion, ranging far and wide to illuminate the nature of regret--what it is, how it changes you, how you experience it. She draws on a breathtaking variety of sources, ranging from psychology, economics, philosophy, and anthropology, to classic works of literature. We learn what people regret most--lack of education comes first, followed by employment, marriage, and children--and how regret differs from other emotions, such as remorse, disappointment, sadness, or guilt. In one of the most fascinating sections, Landman examines four "worldviews" of regret--the Romantic, the Tragic, the Comic, and the Ironic--as exemplified in four major novels: Great Expectations, Notes From Underground, The Ambassadors, and Mrs. Dalloway. In Dostoevsky, for instance, regret is a "poison of unfulfilled desires turned inward," destructive, incurable. Though it is common to regard regret as painful and destructive--being "stuck in the past" or "ruled by emotions"--Landman reveals some surprising benefits. At best regret is a dynamic changing process--one can transcend regret, and thus transform the self. In Anne Tyler's Breathing Lessons, for example, we witness how the characters Ira and Maggie Moran find themselves ready to move forward in their relationship only after they have accepted life's limits and losses without resignation or despair.

"It is a good thing," Landman writes, "that the human mind is not limited by what actually exists, but works in such a way that it draws comparisons between what happens and what might have happened. It is in this ability to imagine alternatives, and the capacity to care about the particularities of experience, that we accomplish the task of becoming fully human." For anyone who has ever questioned, experienced, or avoided regret, here is a provocative and challenging look at this enduring emotion.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 331-356) and index.

About the Author

About the Author -

Janet Landman teaches in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Product Details

Landman, Janet
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Janet
New York :
Psychology-Mood Disorders and Depression
Series Volume:
no. 4
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
84 illus.
9.55x6.52x1.46 in. 1.75 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Our Stolen Future: How We Are... Used Trade Paper $7.50
  2. The Right Mind: Making Sense of the... Used Hardcover $3.95
  3. Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy... Used Trade Paper $11.50
  4. My House Is on Fire Used Trade Paper $1.95
  5. Personality: The Individuation... New Trade Paper $13.50
  6. Byron Used Trade Paper $6.95

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mood Disorders and Depression
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Biochemistry
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment

Regret: The Persistence of the Possible New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$127.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195071788 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at