Cover: Eros and Illness, from Harvard University PressCover: Eros and Illness in HARDCOVER

Eros and Illness

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Product Details


$43.50 • £34.95 • €39.00

ISBN 9780674659711

Publication Date: 02/27/2017


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

19 halftones


Eros and Illness eloquently illustrates how much medical humanities, narrative medicine, and similar new disciplines can contribute to more effective and compassionate care by reminding clinicians that illness is more than a series of data points.—Suzanne Koven, Los Angeles Review of Books

Eros and Illness lends authority and vision to the very private experiences of personal pain and illness. As his wife Ruth succumbs to an aggressive early form of dementia, David Morris ‘corrects’ what he thinks he knows about pain and suffering with his own anguish. From this personal experience emerges the daring formulation of medical eros. What Morris is trying for is almost impossible, but he pulls it off. He is trying to enter illness carrying its presumed antithesis. He proposes that some valuable things are possible within the experience of serious illness, that one can undergo states of profound quest, of abandon, of all that is not ordinary, constricted life. Only a scholar of Morris’s stature who has had to suffer his battering losses would be able to propose such a profound challenge to the world of medicine.—Rita Charon, Columbia University

This remarkable book focuses on the fundamental and fraught relationship of what the author terms ‘medical logos’ and ‘medical eros.’ These terms mirror the philosophical relationship of logos to eros, and bear upon how desire and knowledge in the context of illness reshape that relationship. David Morris is not afraid to delve deep into personal experience. His writing is clear, communicative, and filled with sections that are brilliant in conception and execution—such as the discussions on Modigliani, light, appearance and disappearance, and assenting to life in death-boundedness. This book is a tour-de-force.—Thomas Dumm, Amherst College

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