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Book Cover for: Reading to Stay Alive: Tolstoy, Hopkins and the Dilemma of Existence, Christopher Dowrick

Reading to Stay Alive: Tolstoy, Hopkins and the Dilemma of Existence

Christopher Dowrick

The book begins with rich descriptions of the experience of despair, drawn from real life case studies from the author's clinical practice, and a review of current evidence of suicide prevalence, risk and protective factors. A review of theories about suicide highlights two contemporary explanatory models: Integrated Motivational-Volitional (IMV) model, with focus on perceptions of defeat and entrapment; and Interpersonal Theory (IPT), with focus on thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. The book provides an overview of recent analyses of how literary and poetic texts confront the dilemma of existence in the face of grief and loss, and how literary readings can act as points of transformation.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Anthem Press
  • Publish Date: Mar 12nd, 2024
  • Pages: 162
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.37in - 0.54lb
  • EAN: 9781839991813
  • Categories: GeneralGeneralGeneral

About the Author

Christopher Dowrick is Emeritus Professor in the University of Liverpool UK, and past chair of the World Organisation of Family Doctors working party for mental health.

Praise for this book

"This is an incredibly powerful book. It is about hope and the power of literature in helping any one of us through the darkest of times. It is a sophisticated book which combines theory, literature and people's stories in a way that is both enlightening and engaging. I highly recommend this book." -- Rory O'Connor, Professor of Health Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow.

"Christopher Dowrick uses his experience and expertise as a clinician to interrogate important literary texts. In so doing he demonstrates the profound truth that great writing can sustain and console in dark times." -- Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor, University of Liverpool Foundation Building, UK.

"We are often told that we are in the middle of a major crisis in mental health, especially among young people: 'why stay alive?' is a real question for more people than we might imagine. In this rich and compelling interweaving of pastoral, clinical and artistic insights, Chris Dowrick explores the unexpected experiences of connectedness that - without pretending to solve problems - provide the resource to take the next step in the difficult business of living, and shows us how vital to our very survival the world of art and imagination is. A wonderful and timely book." - Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury.

I found this Book to be well written, absorbing, informative, and full of insights into both the phenomenon of suicide and the states of mind that may lead to it, and into the various literary texts used to illustrate the arguments. - Dr. Dougal Jeffries, British Journal of General Practice.

The author sets out to use literature to explore the many human facets of those who live in such despair they wish to end their lives. He lays his stall out early arguing that literature, 'has the potential to help those who are living in despair, providing them with sufficient reasons to stay alive.' The author also explores poetry, these poems powerfully plumb depths of despair without mercy. The reader cannot but descend into the emotional turmoil that the poet experienced. - Austin O'Carroll; general practitioner and co-founder of Safetynet Ireland, North Dublin City GP Training, and GPCareForAll; Dowrick C, Reading to Stay Alive: Tolstoy, Hopkins and the Dilemmas of Existence.