At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness

Overview

In This Deeply Affecting Memoir, Arthur W. Frank explores the events of illness from within: the transformation from person to patient, the pain, the wonder, and the ceremony of recovery. To illuminate what illness can teach us about life, Frank draws upon his own encounters with serious illness -- a heart attack at age thirty-nine and, a year later, a diagnosis of cancer. In poignant and clear prose, he offers brilliant insights into what happens when our bodies and emotions are pushed to extremes. Ultimately, ...
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1992 Paperback Book is in new condition, may have light bookshelf wear.

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Overview

In This Deeply Affecting Memoir, Arthur W. Frank explores the events of illness from within: the transformation from person to patient, the pain, the wonder, and the ceremony of recovery. To illuminate what illness can teach us about life, Frank draws upon his own encounters with serious illness -- a heart attack at age thirty-nine and, a year later, a diagnosis of cancer. In poignant and clear prose, he offers brilliant insights into what happens when our bodies and emotions are pushed to extremes. Ultimately, he examines what it means to be human.

"...describes the author's feelings before, during, and after his diagnosis with cancer."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Within two years, Frank experienced life-threatening illness twice: a heart attack at age 39 and cancer at 40. These crises motivated him to write ``a letter to his younger self'' before he was made wiser by the experience of disease. Instead of focusing on medical details, he attempts to describe the human experience in an effort to make sense of serious illness. Writing that ``illness teaches the danger as well as the value of the everyday,'' Frank emphasizes the value of life and a return to the sense of wonder at being alive. What he has to say about caregiving complements Norman Cousins's holistic health and vis medicatrix naturae philosophy presented in his Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient ( LJ 9/1/79).-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395624302
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/1992
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur W. Frank received the Natalie Davis Spingarn Writer's Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship in 1996. He teaches at the University of Calgary.

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Table of Contents

Illness as a Dangerous Opportunity 1
Becoming Ill 8
Illness as Incident 16
Becoming Ill Again 22
Seeing Through Pain 29
Mourning What Is Lost 36
Care Has No Recipe 42
The Body as Territory and as Wonder 50
The Cost of Appearances 64
Chemotherapy and Adventure 72
The Struggle Is Not a Fight 83
Stigma 91
Denial and Affirmation 99
Comforters and Accusers 108
Valuing Illness 115
Listening to the Ill 123
Ceremonies of Recovery 129
Gravy 136
Afterword 143
Literary Debts 157
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