The Story That Won’t Begin

Catherine Belling

in A Condition of Doubt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199892365
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950096 | DOI:
The Story That Won’t Begin

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This chapter focuses on the problem of narrative structure in the story of hypochondria. In the absence of diagnosed organic disease, the hypochondriac is refused the conventional beginning of the illness narrative. Instead, the story of hypochondria is recursive in structure, with repeated false starts. It follows, then, that no clear ending-or closure-are possible either. Different writers who identify themselves as hypochondriacs have found different ways to address these narrative challenges, revealing both the particular fears and desires inherent in stories of hypochondria, and the power of narrative in the experience of any illness.

Keywords: narrative structure; illness experience; recursion; beginning; ending; closure

Chapter.  8752 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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