Notes from the Sick Room: Illness in Music, Literature and Art


Notes from the Sick Room takes place in an imaginary hospital that bends the rules of time and space.


Within its wards and departments we meet artists, musicians and writers who have suffered from various physical illnesses – cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and physical trauma. Their lives and works are discussed in an attempt to diagnose how their complaints influenced their work or how their creativity affected their symptoms. We meet Virginia Woolf, Kathy Acker, Frida Kahlo, Katherine Mansfield, Bob Dylan Bruce Chatwin and many others as they struggle to produce works of art, literature and music while in denial, acceptance or flight and through periods of serious illness and convalescence. As we move through the hospital, specialists keep us informed of the history of creativity and illness and the author divulges his own medical history.

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    "A bricolage of ideas that coheres as a sort of image, a story of the necessity of ill health in our lives."

    Medical Humanities

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    eBook, Paperback with free eBook