The Mysterious “Sweating Sickness” in Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” Trilogy and the Private Country of Illness


“The Monk,” by Hans Holbein, depicting death.Art work by Hans Holbein / AlamyAt the beginning of quarantine, when the magnitude of the moment was blooming so strangely, I felt anesthetized by simultaneity. Too much was happening, and so much of it was frightening. Graves were being dug in trenches in New York City. Bicycle-delivery...

“The Crying Book” Reveals How Tears Can Help Us, and How They Can’t


In 2013, researchers led by Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, published a paper on “hedonic reversal,” a form of “benign masochism” in which people take pleasure in “initially negative experiences that the body (brain) falsely interprets as threatening.” Some of these experiences included eating a chili pepper or...