Obsession by Lennard J. Davis
A History

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We live in an age of obsession. Not only are we hopelessly devoted to our work, strangely addicted to our favorite television shows, and desperately impassioned about our cars, we admire obsession in others: we demand that lovers be infatuated with one another in films, we respond to the passion of single-minded musicians, we cheer on driven athletes. To be obsessive is to be American; to be obsessive is to be modern.

But obsession is not only a phenomenon of modern existence: it is a medical category—both a pathology and a goal. Behind this paradox lies a fascinating history, which Lennard J. Davis tells in Obsession. Beginning with the roots of the disease in demonic possession and its secular successors, Davis traces the evolution of obsessive behavior from a social and religious fact of life into a medical and psychiatric problem. From obsessive aspects of professional specialization to obsessive compulsive disorder and nymphomania, no variety of obsession eludes Davis’s graceful analysis.


About Lennard J. Davis

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Lennard J. Davis is head of the English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is also Professor of Disability and Human Development. His books include "Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body" and "The Disability Studies Reader".
Published May 15, 2009 by University of Chicago Press. 296 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Obsession

Huffington Post

That sounds lovely, but for the clinician and scientist, the problem is that scientists and clinicians hardly ever find the humanities a useful backdrop in their daily sweat to understand how the brain works when it's healthy and not healthy.

Jan 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Obsession: A History

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