A Body Made of Glass: A History of Hypochondria (Hardback)Caroline Crampton (author)
Tracing the cultural history of hypocondria from Hippocrates to the present day wellness industry, Crampton's illuminating, deeply humane and darkly funny book is a perceptive meditation on how we relate to our bodies.
A fascinating and revelatory cultural history of hypochondria, from Hippocrates to wellness influencers - for fans of Andrew Solomon and Siddhartha Mukherjee
'There is a twilight zone between illness and health, and that's where I dwell'
An ache, a pain, a mysterious lump, a strange sensation in some part of your body, the feeling that something is not right. The fear that something is, in fact, very wrong. These could be symptoms of illness. But they could also be the symptoms of hypochondria - an enigmatic condition that might be physiological or psychological or both.
In this landmark book, Caroline Crampton tells the story of hypochondria, beginning in the age of Hippocrates and taking us right through to the wellness industry today. Along the way, we encounter successive generations of doctors positing new theories, as well as quacks selling spurious cure-alls to the desperate. And we meet those who have suffered with conditions both real and imagined, including Moliere, Darwin, Woolf, Freud, Larkin, and Proust whose symptoms and sensitivities gradually narrowed his life to the space of his cork-lined bedroom. Crampton also examines the gendered nature of the medical response, the financial and social factors at play, and the ways in which modern technology simultaneously feeds our fears and holds out the promise of relief.
Drawing on Crampton's own experience of surviving a life-threatening disease only to find herself beset by almost constant anxiety about her health, A Body Made of Glass explores part of the landscape of illness that most memoirs don't reach: the territory beyond survival or cure, where body and mind seem locked in a strange and exhausting kind of dance. The result is both a fascinating cultural history of hypochondria and a moving account of what it means to live with this invisible, elusive and increasingly wide-spread condition.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: 223 x 144 x 28 mm
Clarity and beauty combine with terror and dark comedy - essential reading for everyone who has a body. And yes - that means every single reader in the world - Lucy Worsley
Masterful... [a] very readable account of the history of hypochondria as a concept in human history; and its implications for how we think about what is real, what is normal and how we relate to our bodies... A profound work - Dr Gwen Adshead
A wonderful, poignant and personal journey into the world of hypochondria. Written with wisdom and insight, this is both an important and entertaining read into a much misunderstood condition - Dr Alastair Santhouse
[A] thoughtful and touching examination of what it means to be well... Crampton's unflinching honesty and skill with words make for a tender and often heart-breaking history of medicine. Every medical professional should read this book - Subhadra Das
An intelligent, vulnerable and learned book about a condition so widespread and yet so misunderstood. A Body Made of Glass unpicks the mysterious relationship between mind, body, and a health anxiety which may or may not have a physical source... Humane, thoughtful, and unsettling. The best book I've read in ages - Cal Flyn
Moving and fascinating... By combining her own experiences with a reflective and insightful study of hypochondria's history, Caroline has created a unique exploration of the condition. A surprising, uplifting and compelling book - Dr Michael Brooks
A compassionate, erudite and humane exploration of our greatest anxieties. If you've ever had sleepless nights worrying about your health, this definitive history of hypochondria is for you - Dr Jules Montague
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