1. The retrospective study, often by a physician, of the possible influence and effects of disease on the life and work of a historical personage or group.
2. A style of biography that overemphasizes the negative aspects of a person's life and work, such as failure, unhappiness, illness, and tragedy: "[It] falls into pathography's technique of emphasizing the sensational underside of its subject's life" (Joyce Carol Oates).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -phies
1. (Medicine) a description of disease
2. (Medicine) a historical study of an individual or community and the incidence and effects of (a) disease
3. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a biography that focuses on the negative aspects of its subject
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(pəˈθɒg rə fi)
a biography that focuses on the negative elements of its subject.
[1985–90; popularized in this sense by J.C. Oates, U.S. writer]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Briskly written and mostly even-handed, the book avoids both hagiography and pathography. Succeeding as both intellectual history and political history, it gives due treatment of all of his major works, and generally assesses their impact correctly.
We aim to analyze here the recent pathographic critiques of medical authors about Nietzsche, not without presenting the first alternative genre previously mentioned and the pathography resulting from the official diagnosis.
Reconsidering anamnesis by re-evaluating the biography of life conditions leads to the goal of psychosomatic medicine to create a pathography, understanding illness not as an accident, but in relation with the patient's past.
Bedrich Smetana--a pathography on the 180th anniversary of his birth and 120th anniversary of his death.
Part 2, "Performing Patients," includes: Emma Brodzinski, "The Patient Performer: Embodied Pathography in Contemporary Productions" (85-98); Brian Lobel, "Fun with Cancer Patients: The Affect of Cancer" (99-114); P.
The Viral Network: A Pathography of the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic
Slater E & Meyer A (1959) Contribution to a pathography of the musicians: Robert Schumann.
"Jim Henson was such a beloved and tragic figure (he died at 53 of a strep infection) that I hesitated to open Brian Jay Jones's book for fear that it would be yet another 'pathography,' a term coined by Joyce Carol Oates to describe the account of a person who may be saintly on the surface but whose story is mainly one of dysfunction, disaster and outrageous conduct.
As MacDonald suggests, we can view the novel "as a pathography, where the illness of those cared for is given testimony, with the reader acting as witness to trauma and loss" (2007: 76).