Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives by Brian Dillon - review by Anthony Daniels

Anthony Daniels

Fearing The Worst

Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives


Penguin Ireland 277pp £18.99

In a sense, we live in a golden age of hypochondriasis, for we are by far the healthiest people who have ever lived and yet we fret about our health as much or more than those who lived during the Black Death. A long life expectancy does not by itself alleviate anxiety; the difference between our fears and objective reality has never been greater.

In this interesting book, the author gives us nine potted biographies of prominent people who were hypochondriacs. Except for Glenn Gould and Andy Warhol, all of them lived at a time when the slightest break in the integrity of the skin could be the portal of fatal septicaemia;

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