Eros and illness / David B. Morris.

  • Morris, David B.
  • Books

About this work


Eros and Illness explores the place of desire in illness. We urgently need such an exploration because illness is no longer simply a natural feature of the human condition. Most people fall ill, but illness now falls under the supervision of biomedicine, a science-based, state-regulated system dominated by the new molecular gaze. The use of a person's distinctive genetic data to guide treatment and to forestall disease--called "personalized medicine"-- reflects how the molecular gaze can produce valuable advances in biomedical healthcare. What does this indispensable super-vision, however, tend to overlook? Eros and Illness proposes that biomedicine ignores, in clinical practice and in bench science, the powerful role of desire in illness. Desire, always double-edged, requires attention because it can do both great harm and great good. Patients, caregivers, family members, and physicians, as they recognize the role of desire, gain access to a power that can make the passage through illness much less onerous and far more healing: truly "personalized." -- Provided by publisher


Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2017.

Physical description

350 pages : black and white illustrations ; 25 cm


Introduction: What is Eros? -- Part One. The contraries: The ambush: an erotics of illness -- Un-forgetting Asklepios: medical Eros and its lineage -- Not-knowing: medicine in the dark -- Part Two. The stories: Varieties of erotic experience: five illness narratives -- Eros Modigliani: assenting to life -- The infinite faces of pain: Eros and ethics -- Part Three. The dilemmas: Black-swan syndrome: probable improbabilities -- Light as environment: how not to love nature -- The spark of life: appearances / disappearances -- Conclusion: Altered states.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 303-333) and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    PB /MOR
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780674659711
  • 0674659716