Seeds of Mortality: The Public and Private Worlds of Cancer

Overview

A cancer survivor questions the prevailing rhetoric of cancer, arguing that we may not have made much social progress in dealing with the disease after all. A cancer survivor questions the prevailing rhetoric of cancer, arguing that we may not have made much social progress in dealing with the disease after all. According to the publicity of cancer, we are emerging from the time when the disease was surrounded by the unhealthy silence of denial. Justman separates the experience of cancer from the publicity and ...

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Overview

A cancer survivor questions the prevailing rhetoric of cancer, arguing that we may not have made much social progress in dealing with the disease after all. A cancer survivor questions the prevailing rhetoric of cancer, arguing that we may not have made much social progress in dealing with the disease after all. According to the publicity of cancer, we are emerging from the time when the disease was surrounded by the unhealthy silence of denial. Justman separates the experience of cancer from the publicity and disputes the liberation rhetoric that has established itself in the cancer world. Justman (English, U. of Montana) explores the language used to talk about cancer—such as the ubiquitous war metaphors, and the focus on inner emotional healing—and finds precursors for it in literature. Author Info: Stewart Justman teaches English at the University of Montana.

His witty, ironical and provocative style grips and delights the reader: One does not let go of this book easily.
— From the Program for the Pen Awards Ceremony

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
An invaluable, counter-mass-cultural book.
Choice
...An insightful account of...cancer...combined with interpretations from the great literature of the past.... Useful for its alternative views.
Richmond Times Dispatch
I couldn't resist a medical book that quotes not just Hippocrates but...Austen, Tolstoy,...Melville,…and the Song of Songs.
New England Journal Of Medicine
Cleverly interweaves his own experience...with cancer with reflections on works of literature, the visual arts, and philosophy.
— Dr. Richard Meakin
CHOICE
...An insightful account of...cancer...combined with interpretations from the great literature of the past.... Useful for its alternative views.
RICHARD MEAKIN
Cleverly interweaves his own experience...with cancer with reflections on works of literature, the visual arts, and philosophy...
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
Cancer Forum
The book...is to be read leisurely and savoured...
The Montana Professor
An articulate, clear, and forceful narrative... Justman is that rare combination of scholar and wit, a writer who is academic without being pedantic.
Booklist
An invaluable, counter-mass-cultural book.
Publishers Weekly
The author, a professor of English at the University of Montana and author of Springs of Liberty, had his prostate cancer treated with radiation seed implants, and his experience as a patient led to this reflection on how cancer is viewed and publicized in our society. Although some of Justman's comments are provocative, the narrative so frequently rambles that his points are obscured. Drawing on his academic background, Justman alludes to works of art, history and literature to make his arguments. He uses, for example, Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilych," to argue that fictional works of great authors that describe the tragedy of an ordinary man are as valid as the first-person narrative accounts of actual heroic cancer sufferers currently in vogue. It is clear that the author does not approve of the so-called transparency movement in cancer circles, whereby support groups of patients discuss their feelings. Justman also questions the validity of such activities as yoga and visualization as cures for cancer, preferring reticence and offering Brueghel's painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus as a masterpiece of understatement. In the end, this is an iconoclastic but meandering look at the cancer culture. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566634984
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Stewart Justman was born in New York, studied at Columbia University, and now teaches English at the University of Montana. He has also written The Springs of Liberty and The Psychological Mystique.

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