Nine Hypochondriac LivesBook - 2009
Tormented Hope is a book about mind and body, fear and hope, illness and imagination. 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 nine lives, it shows how the mind can make a prison of the body, by distorting our sense of ourselves as physical beings.
Healthy or unhealthy, robust or failing, ignored or obsessed over, our bodies respond daily to our shifting state of mind, whether we are aware of the process or not. This book is about an especially dramatic instance of that relationship- the mind's invention of physical disease. Through his witty, entertaining and often moving examinations of the lives of its nine subjects - James Boswell, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Daniel Paul Schreber, Marcel Proust, Alice James, Glenn Gould and Andy Warhol - Brian Dillon brilliantly unravels the tortuous connections between real and imagined illness, irrational fear and rational concern, anxiety and imagination, the mind's aches and the body's ideas.