Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History suggests a unique approach to the inner life and its ordinary pains. Francis O'Gorman charts the emergence of our contemporary idea of worry in the Victorian era and its establishment, after the First World War, as a feature of modernity. For some writers between the Wars, worry was the "disease of the age." Worrying examines the everyday kind of worry-the fearful, non-pathological, and usually hidden questioning about uncertain futures. It shows worry to be a natural companion in a world where we try to live by reason and believe we have the right to choose, finding in the worrier a peculiarly contemporary sufferer whose mental life is not only exceptionally familiar, but also deeply strange. Offering an intimately personal account of an all-too-common human experience, and of a word that slips in and out of ordinary conversation so often that it has become invisible in its familiarity, Worrying explores how the modern world has shaped our everyday anxieties.
It is 4.06 am. Francis O'Gorman is in bed. His partner and three cats lie fast asleep beside him. But he is awake, worrying. So begins this subtle, exploratory, completely original book. John Carey The Sunday Times (Culture Magazine)
Francis O’Gorman is from English, Irish, and Hungarian families and was educated at the University of Oxford as Organ Scholar of Lady Margaret Hall. He has written or edited twenty books, mostly on English literature, and his many essays discuss literature, mental health, music, and the state of the modern university. His most recent piece of creative non-fiction is a memoir, Forgetfulness (2016). He is a Professor in the School of English at the University of Leeds, UK.