Unreliable Historians

Catherine Belling

in A Condition of Doubt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199892365
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950096 | DOI:
Unreliable Historians

Show Summary Details


This chapter focuses on the hypochondriac's lack of credibility as self-narrator, and the resulting necessity for autobiographers of hypochondria to distance themselves from their frightened protagonist selves. It compares the narratorial strategies of such autobiographers with the strategies used by clinicians to makes sense of those patients (including hypochondriacs) who are considered to be “poor historians”-unreliable narrators of their own condition. By examining the hypochondriac narrator as inescapably self-reflexive and theoretical, we gain insight into the need for similar reflexiveness in medicine. The chapter argues that medicine itself needs to theorize its own doubts.

Keywords: narration; the unreliable narrator; the clinical history; the “poor historian”; self-reflexiveness; metanarration; theory

Chapter.  6314 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.