Kathleen Béres Rogers: Creating Romantic Obsession: Scorpions in the Mind

Dr. Kathleen Béres Rogers published her first book this March titled Creating Romantic Obsession: Scorpions in the Mind. The text explores obsession as a mental disease and when it came to be recognized as a disease in the Romantic Era. Dr. Béres Rogers began by writing articles on obsession and quickly realized that there was more to unpack than she initially realized, thus inspiring her to write her first book. 

The book began by the author writing two articles, which inspired her to explore obsession deeper. She combed through countless medical journals to uncover everything she could about obsession from a medical viewpoint. Dr. Béres Rogers started her book with a different angle of obsession and the sublime, but her editors recommended she cut back as it was too much for one book, which resulted in her cutting out the sublime. The book came as a result of several years of research, writing, and revision. 

Her favorite parts of the book are the chapters on erotomania and nymphomania. Erotomania occurs with males and happens in the mind when something in the brain is not working correctly. Through 19th-century ways of understanding the human experience, nymphomania was believed to start in the uterus to work its way up through the entire body to the brain. Being incredibly interested in gender issues, Dr. Béres Rogers truly enjoyed exploring the connection between the mind and the aspect of being male or female as both an English and WGST professor.

One of her biggest challenges of writing this book was creating something new, especially when writing about Coleridge and Poe since there is an incredible amount of existing criticism on their work. She still finds new texts that she wishes she could have included in her work. For example, she is teaching The Monk in her classes and realized it would’ve been perfect due to the evident obsession in the characters.