1st Edition

A History of Euphoria The Perception and Misperception of Health and Well-Being

By Christopher Milnes Copyright 2019

    Very few people have not at some point in their lives believed themselves or their loved ones to be reasonably healthy when, in "reality", sickness was encroaching or never went away. Health has been deceiving us for thousands of years, but rarely have we entirely dispensed with it as a concept. This book sets out to establish why and how that might be. The first of its kind, this longue durée historical study explores some of the ways in which people in western societies and cultures have come to believe that they, or other people, have perceived or misperceived health, well-being and euphoria—a word which, before the twentieth century, usually named the experience of health. This book draws from a number of areas of historical research, including the histories of convalescence, addiction, madness and Sigmund Freud’s interest in Euphorie in his pre-psychoanalytical period.

    1. Introduction

    Part I: The Perception of Health

    2. Frances Burney and the Loss and Restoration of Health

    Part II: The Misperception of Health

    3. Mistakes, Disappointments and Shattered Ideals

    4. Gods, Goodness and Going Back: Meanings and Values of Health

    5. Rarities of Misperception: Freedom from Doubt

    6. The Experts: Guides to the Perception and Misperception of Health

    Part III: The Misperceiving Other

    7. Unreason: The Unhealthy Mind

    8. Pleasure, Delirium and Hypochondria: When the "Mad" Misperceive Their Health

    9. Fin de Siècle: Decadence, Degeneration and the Pleasures of Declining Health

    10. Partial Insanity: Resemblances Between the "Mad" and the Sane

    11. Addictive Medicine: Resemblances Between Oblivion and Restoration

    Part IV: Euphoria

    12. A History of Euphoria

    13. Cocaine, Hypnotism and Joyful Death: Sigmund Freud in Euphorie

    Part V: The Misperception of Well-Being

    14. Fools and Monsters: A Sickness at Humanity’s Heart

    15. Euphoria Obama: Cruel and Unusual Euphoria

    16. Conclusion


    Christopher Milnes is an early career scholar and History tutor based in London.