May 5 2010
Brian Dillon: Hypochondria
Vincent van Gogh's Corridor of Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Rémy, 1889
In classic Greek medicine, hypochondria was known first as a disease of the digestive tract, and only secondarily as one of the mind. The psychological aspects gradually came to dominate definitions of the condition, so that nowadays, we don't really distinguish hypochondria from an overactive imagination. The books below were all written by or about inventive malingerers, providing firsthand testimony from the world of the worried well.
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