The brilliant Hilary Mantel on hypochondria, in the London Review of Books:
For the Greeks, the hypochondrium was the area just below the ribcage, the site of digestive disorder. This region of the body is where feelings of unease pool, then overflow. It is dangerously proximate to the heart.
The entire essay is terrific, blazingly clear on an inherently muddy subject. Mantel moves smoothly from medieval ideas of hypochondria ("Was the disturbance on the bodily plane, or the astral plane?… There was a frog, or serpent, inside him") to Freudian ones ("the state of being in love with one’s own illness") to the modern conception ("hypochondriacs are almost [...]