Kathlyn Conway's Beyond words : illness and the limits of expression PDF

By Kathlyn Conway

ISBN-10: 0826353258

ISBN-13: 9780826353252

ISBN-10: 1299475469

ISBN-13: 9781299475465

"Author Kathlyn Conway, a three-time melanoma survivor, believes that the triumphalist method of writing approximately sickness fails to do justice to the shattering event of affliction. via wrestling with the problem of writing in regards to the fact of significant ailment and damage, she argues, writers can provide a more true photo of the complicated dating among physique and mind"--Provided via publisher.

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Extra resources for Beyond words : illness and the limits of expression

Sample text

While the writers of triumph narratives may acknowledge this initial reaction to illness, they tend to gloss over the continuing dif‹culties of the experience and to write after the fact, imposing retrospectively a story of triumph. Why not just ignore the story if it rings false? For one thing, most people have a complicated reaction: even if the triumph story rings false, it holds an attraction. It highlights those qualities we would all like to exhibit in the face of serious illness—an ability to ‹ght against / 17 / 18 / Beyond Words sickness and limitation, an optimism in the face of adversity.

57 Sacks describes the abyss of despair he sank into, feeling he was losing himself. He believes that his doctor could have helped him, that human communication can function to make psychic survival possible even in the face of overwhelming terror at the loss of self. Instead, his doctor’s coldness and refusal to listen to Sacks’s less triumphant story left him in a state of psychic disintegration. Depression, a disease whose severity is often underestimated, is one in which the patient’s narrative is often rejected.

A person battles a disease, overcomes numerous obstacles, and, in the end, returns to life having learned some important lessons. If anything this story seems to offer hope, providing inspiration and a model for how to act in the face of serious illness or accident. No wonder people are captivated by these stories. And yet not everyone feels so sanguine about triumph narratives. Some people ‹nd the triumph story at best a silly romance and at worst a cruel denial of their situation. After all, most people with a serious illness or injury are or have been in a state of emergency.

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Beyond words : illness and the limits of expression by Kathlyn Conway


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