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The Hypochondriacs: Nine Tormented Lives

Brian Dillon.
Publisher Faber & Faber  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.25 x 0.8 inches
ISBN 9780865479463
Pages/Publication Date 280/2010
Daedalus Item Code 32759
This item is not available.
Charlotte Brontë found in her illnesses, real and imagined, an escape from familial and social duties, and the perfect conditions for writing. Andy Warhol was terrified by disease and by the idea of disease. And Glenn Gould claimed a friendly pat on his shoulder had destroyed his ability to play piano. Brian Dillon, whose memoir In the Dark Room won the 2006 Irish Book Award for nonfiction, explores the relationship between mind and body as it is mediated by the experience, or simply the terror, of being ill. His entertaining and often moving examination also includes Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Alice James, and Marcel Proust.

"Who, except perhaps for avid fans or scholars, knew that Charles Darwin suffered from a variety of self-inflicted ailments (as well as excessive flatulence)?... Most interesting, perhaps, is the way the author shows how hypochondria can both limit a person's way of life while also enriching that person's life. Boswell, for example, obsessively scheduled his own life, but without his fear of formlessness, he might never have become a writer. This deeply fascinating study will turn the reader's eyes inward, to focus on his or her own foibles and compulsions and to wonder what they might really mean."—Booklist

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