Brian Dillon: The Hypochondriacs Nine Tormented Lives



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Interesting very interesting I thought every story would read like a textbook I was leased to discover the author managed to make it story like The author s ignorance of medicine and The Pharisees Guide to Total Holiness psychiatry makes his heavy handed attempts to force his subjects into the diagnosis hypochondriac annoying and unconvincing and turns into a show case for his eclectic study of the use of the term through history without teaching us anything about the effect of imaginary illness or theeople he victimizesMany of his hypochondriacs like Boswell are going through normal Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, periods of depression Others aresychotic or like Glen Gould sound autistic uite a few of them died young of their maladies in a day when diagnosis was crude enough that it is very likely their feelings of having something seriously wrong were true Charlotte Bronte for exampleThere s too much junk Craft Notes for Animators psychology including a lot of outmoded simplistic Freudian thinking My impression is that the author was not euipped to write the book he soldrobably on a Perception and the External World proposal but wrote it anywayThe subject a fascinating one still awaits a study by someone better able to write it Currently reading have finished half of the chapters One British critic described it as a book one reads slowly to fully consider Dillon s writing and toostpone finishing the book There is no higher compliment I fully agree Each sentence is crafted masterfully and depicts the affect of hypochondria on the lives and creativity of the subjects I ve been fascinated with medical history for than 20 years and this book is engaging beyond belief especially if the reader is Popular Representations of Development particularly interested in one of the hypochondriacs Charlotte Bronte Andy Warhol Florence Nightingale Glenn Gould etc As a devoted hypochondriac myself I came into this book hoping to find a bit of me in far impressiveeople In some cases I d say the author delivered on that Sister for Sale promise In others though I feel like he conflated hypochondria with genuine sickness or mental illness to theoint that the ailment lost any distinctive meaning It never veers so far off track that his stories seem totally shoehorned in but there were The Blue Door (Threshold plenty of times where I was thinking Can you really be considered a hypochondriac if you re actually this sick Regardless I still had a lot of fun reading this even if it wasn t the most substantive or engaging book ever The sections on the Schreber case and Glenn Gould wererobably my favorites No need to rush to read this one but if you also have a talent at spinning everything from a slight ache in the chest to a twitch of the eye into cancer or ALS this book will remind you you re at least in decent company This is a very insightful account of 9 hypochondriac lives Charles Darwin Florence Nightingale and Andy Warhol featuring among them I found Andy Charlotte Brontë found in her illnesses real and imagined an escape from familial and social duties and the Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity perfect conditions for writing The German jurist Daniel Paul Schreber believed his body was being colonized and transformed at the hands of God and doctors alike Andy Warhol was terrified by disease and by the idea of disease Glenn Gould claimed a friendlyat on his shoulder had destroyed his ability to The Art of Standing Still playiano And we all know someone who has tr.

Arhol s story articularly sad as was the afterword on Michael Jackson although the author manages to write about these eople in an incredibly respectful way This book is a brief biography of 9 artists most of them writers and how they survived and coped with their supposed hypochondria It is not a book about hypochondria but of the lives of the 9 artists chosen by the author to illustrate the degree of their hypochondria as evident in their memoirs letters diaries essays novels autobiographies and others writings testimonies about them The author s urpose in writing the book was to illustrate the history of hypochondria though after reading the book I would expand that to mean the EVOLUTION of hypochondria The author then attempts to write the biography of a body where biography is to be understood in its etymological sense that is a literal writing of life itself bios in the original Greek Because it is a biography and not a medical journal or book the artists real illnesses as defined in our century might actually be far removed from hypochondria This becomes obvious to anyone reading the chapter on James Boswell they would immediately realize that today his so called hypochondriac symptoms would be classified as depression Charles Darwin had migraines with IBS and robable amoebiasis Charlotte Bronte the misunderstood hypochondriac is actually a classic introvert based on the author s descriptions of her life Florence Nightingale has PTSD which the author also mentions with The War to End All Wars possible manic depressive disorder andolymyalgia rheumatica Alice James had what we would call now a nervous breakdown that never got cured with classic racing thoughts as the hallmark of her disease Daniel Schreber aware of his mental illness Death Comes for the Archbishop probably had schizoaffective disorder due to inner conflict with his homosexuality Marcel Proust is the asthmatic who became agoraphobic as a result of it because there was noreventive medication for asthma during his time Glenn Gould the Monk like OCD Mostly Mama pianist with multiplehobias but who under today s medical definition of hypochondria is The Naked Man probably the only true hypochondriac in the whole book Andy Warhol whose illnesses are real and not imagined the most serious being chorea and whose only claim to hypochondria is his fear of contracting AIDS which was the fear of almost everyone in the arts and gay community during the early 80s So if you re looking to read this book to find out about hyponchondria you will be disappointed because it is a biography of 9eople s illnesses real or imagined and not hypochondria Damias Children per se I generally don t write many reviews but several of the low scores for this book spurred my tout something together Brian Dillon s study of disease and hypochondria through the characters of nine literary figures. Awled the Internet in solitude seeking to Cutremur de timp pinpoint the source of his or her fantastical symptoms The Hypochondriacs is a book about fear and hope illness and imagination despair and creativity It explores in the stories of nine individuals the relationship between mind and body as it is mediated by the experience or simply the terror of being ill And in an intimate investigation of those lives it shows how the mind can make arison of the body by distorti.

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Presents an interesting and illuminating read with one major caveat that has led to it receiving such low scoring reviews This is not a scientific or medical studyIf you are expecting someone who is going to give a detailed account and diagnoses based upon modern standards and theory you will not find that in this book This confusion has understandably annoyed many of the book s reviewers Rather this book is aimed much to someone with a background or interest in history and literature as really that is Dillon s main concern in the book not with understanding disease as a medical Backlash : La guerre froide contre les femmes phenomena but with understanding disease as a cultural and literary concern What is important to Dillon s study is the way in which these writers structure their lives through the depression and diseases both imaginary and real which define their existences In exploring this concern Dillonresents a witty and interesting read I believe would be of interest to anyone seeking to explore our relationship to disease and the body and who is willing to Die Botin des Königs (Reiter-Trilogie piece through his at times slightly too eclectic style of writing Not too bad interestingrofiles Unfortunately the Patagonia Express people were really sick characters if not alwayshysically sick Tormented Hope which was on the shortlist for the 2009 Wellcome Trust Book Prize is a history of hypochondria as told through the lives of nine noted Predator people who were diagnosed with the disorder in their lifetimes James Boswell Charlotte Bront Charles Darwin Florence Nightingale Alice James Daniel Paul Schreber Marcel Proust Glenn Gould and Andy Warhol The author uses writtenersonal accounts of these individuals and biographies about them along with ast and current medical literature on hypochondria and the effect of the mind on illness to elucidate the disease rocess in the Seven Days in Utopia person and how their illnesses wereerceived by themselves and those close to them The nine eople were chosen by the author because they had written extensively about their illnessesAlthough this concept of this book was interesting to me I did not enjoy it and stopped reading it about halfway through I found the discussions tedious and drawn out and the lives of the eople as Reclaiming Love portrayed by Dillon had little or no interest to me I think that this book would be much interesting to readers who have a strong interest in these individuals rather than someone looking for a medical history of hypochondria I am surprised that this book has such a relatively low rating Each study is deftly written and I found the chapters on Florence Nightingale Alice James and Glenn Gouldarticularly elegant I respectfully suggest that any reader who wonders why some of these individuals were included in this book would do well to read it again and reflect on the changing conceptions of hypochondria. Ng our sense of ourselves as hysical beings Through witty entertaining and often moving examinations of the lives of these eminent hypochondriacs James Boswell Charlotte Brontë Charles Darwin Florence Nightingale Alice James Daniel Paul Schreber Marcel Proust Glenn Gould and Andy Warhol Brian Dillon brilliantly unravels the tortuous connections between real and imagined illness irrational fear and rational concern the mind’s aches and the body’s idea.

BRIAN DILLON was born in Dublin in 1969 His books include Objects in This Mirror Essays Sternberg Press 2014 Sanctuary Sternberg Press 2011 Ruins MIT PressWhitechapel Gallery 2011 Tormented Hope Nine Hypochondriac Lives Penguin 2009 and In the Dark Room Penguin 2005His writing appears regularly in the Guardian the London Review of Books the Times Literary Supplement Artfor