A Body Made of Glass: A History of Hypochondria

Caroline Crampton


A fascinating and revelatory cultural history of hypochondria, from Hippocrates to wellness influencers – for fans of Andrew Solomon and Siddhartha Mukherjee.

In stock

ISBN: 9781783789054 Category: Tags: ,


“There is a twilight zone between illness and health, and thats where I dwell”

An ache, a pain, a mysterious lump, a strange sensation in some part of your body, the feeling that something is not right. The fear that something is, in fact, very wrong. These could be symptoms of illness. But they could also be the symptoms of hypochondria – an enigmatic condition that might be physiological or psychological or both.

In this landmark book, Caroline Crampton tells the story of hypochondria, beginning in the age of Hippocrates and taking us right through to the wellness industry today. Along the way, we encounter successive generations of doctors positing new theories, as well as quacks selling spurious cure-alls to the desperate. And we meet those who have suffered with conditions both real and imagined, including Moliere, Darwin, Woolf, Freud, Larkin, and Proust whose symptoms and sensitivities gradually narrowed his life to the space of his cork-lined bedroom. Crampton also examines the gendered nature of the medical response, the financial and social factors at play, and the ways in which modern technology simultaneously feeds our fears and holds out the promise of relief.

Drawing on Crampton’s own experience of surviving a life-threatening disease only to find herself beset by almost constant anxiety about her health, A Body Made of Glass explores part of the landscape of illness that most memoirs don’t reach: the territory beyond survival or cure, where body and mind seem locked in a strange and exhausting kind of dance. The result is both a fascinating cultural history of hypochondria and a moving account of what it means to live with this invisible, elusive and increasingly wide-spread condition.

Additional information





Orders placed via our website can be paid using any of the following methods:

  • Credit or debit card
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • National Book Tokens

Our credit and debit card payments are securely processed by Stripe, and your full card information is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team. If you select to save your credit or debit card information during checkout to use again for future orders, your card information is encrypted and stored only by Stripe, who have been certified as a Level 1 PCI Service Provider (the highest level of security certification available for online payment services). Read more about Stripe and security here.

If ordering from a device or browser that supports Google Pay or Apple Pay, you will be automatically shown the corresponding payment button on product pages, the cart page, and the checkout page. Please note that the personal and payment information shown by Google Pay and Apple Pay is stored only by your payment account, and is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team.

Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here.

If you encounter any issues with payments when ordering, or have any questions about the available methods of payment, please don’t hesitate to email us.

Ordering Information

Orders placed through this site will typically be fulfilled from our shop’s inventory within 48 hours. Occasionally an item may be out of stock, in which case it may be fulfilled by our supplier and dispatched directly to you, or to the shop if Collect in Person was selected during checkout. We will inform you of any delays affecting your order as quickly as possible.

Items marked AVAILABLE TO ORDER are available on backorder and typically arrive within a couple of days, but can occasionally take longer to arrive. In the event that an item you have ordered is unexpectedly delayed for 7 days or more, we will contact you by email with a delivery estimate.

If you’d like to confirm an item’s availability or check on the status of an order, please email us.

Any forthcoming titles available to pre-order are clearly marked with a red PRE-ORDER label, and the anticipated publication date. Typically, pre-ordered items will be available on or occasionally very shortly after the publication date, and in the event that we do anticipate a delay we will endeavour to keep you updated on the status of your pre-order.

Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). If you have a question about the status of a pre-order, please email us.

Gift Wrapping

Select the Gift Wrapping option on the Cart or Checkout pages to have your order wrapped for a flat fee of £2.20. Orders placed including the gift wrapping option will be wrapped using tissue paper and sealed with a Pages of Hackney sticker. A gift message can be included during this process, which will be written on a Pages of Hackney card and included with your order (if you’d prefer we use a greeting card, please add one to your order and mention this in the order notes field).

Unless requested, gift wrapping includes all items in an order. If you have different wrapping requirements for individual items, please either place multiple orders or let us know your requirements in the order notes field during checkout.

Delivery Costs

UK postage costs (per order):

Royal Mail First Class – £2.95
Royal Mail Second Class – £1.95

Orders with a total greater than £50 will automatically qualify for free delivery (excluding subscriptions).

If you do not wish to have your order delivered, please select Collect In Person during checkout.

Please note that orders placed via our site can be delivered within the UK only. For international delivery, please email us stating the items you wish to order and your delivery address, and we’ll let you know your options for shipping.