Posts Tagged: hilary mantel

"It Is Better to Have a Symptom than a Void Inside"

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 [...]


This Winter's Required Reading

A single article, which combines monarchy and the physical ailments of the long-dead and the idea of celebrity and the nature of female visibility and sexuality and ownership in one majestic sweep. Hilary Mantel's "Royal Bodies". GO, read. Argue! Read it twice before dinner and once after. Today I like it, tomorrow I may hate it, but I am ABSORBED nonetheless.

The Independent has it all wrong, for the record. Mantel may say Kate Middleton is plastic and has dead eyes, but, amazingly, you must trust me when I assure you it is with the deepest kindness that she says it. Or, don't trust me, because when I [...]