PUBLICATION: Paper on anorexia literature

KCL’s English department’s Emma Seaber has published a paper in the Literature and Medicine journal on the relationship between eating disorders and reading behaviours. I think it is both an important contribution to medical humanities praxis and illness memoir research. See below:

Emma Seaber, “Reading Disorders: Pro-Eating Disorder Rhetoric and Anorexia Life-Writing,” Literature and Medicine, 34.2 (2016), pp. 484-508


This article explores the relationship between eating disorders and reading behaviors, arguing that there is a meaningful difference in a minority of readers’ approach to and understanding of anorexia life-writing, and of literary texts more broadly. To illuminate this distinction, this article begins by considering the reported deleterious influence of Marya Hornbacher’s anorexia memoir, Wasted, elaborating the ways Hornbacher offers a positive presentation of anorexia nervosa that may, intentionally or not, induce certain readers to “try it” themselves. This is followed by an exploration of how Hornbacher’s own reading praxis is implicated in a discursive feedback loop around anorexia narratives. It concludes with a discussion of disordered reading attitudes in relation to the emergence of the “pro-anorexia” phenomenon.


The article is open access and available to view online:

For more information on Emma Seaber’s work please visit their blog: Ill/literacy


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