Penguin Books The Book of Phobias and Manias: A History of Obsession
Penguin Books The Book of Phobias and Manias: A History of Obsession

The Book of Phobias and Manias: A History of Obsession

By Kate Summerscale


Publication Date: September 27, 2022

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From the winner of the Edgar Award and the Samuel Johnson Prize, a cultural history of “everyday madness”

The Book of Phobias and Manias is a thrilling compendium of 99 obsessions that have shaped us all, the rare and the familiar, from ablutophobia (a horror of washing) to syllogomania (a compulsion to hoard) to zoophobia (a fear of animals).


Phobias and manias are deeply personal experiences, and among the most common anxiety disorders of our time, but they are also clues to our shared past. The award-winning author Kate Summerscale uses rich and riveting case studies to trace the origins of our obsessions, unearthing a history of human strangeness, from the middle ages to the present day, and a wealth of explanations for some of our most powerful aversions and desires.

About the Author

Kate Summerscale, formerly the literary editor of the Daily Telegraph (London), is the author of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, a number one bestseller in the UK, which was translated into more than a dozen languages and won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the British Book Awards Book of the Year. Her first book, The Queen of Whale Cay, won a Somerset Maugham Award and was short-listed for the Whitbread Biography Award, The Wicked Boy won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and The Haunting of Alma Fielding was short-listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. Summerscale lives in London.


Author Residence: London, England

Format: Hardcover Paper over boards

Length: 240 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

ISBN: 9780593489758

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