Still Lives: Narratives of Spinal Cord Injury

Overview

In writing Still Lives, Jonathan Cole wanted to find out about living in a wheelchair, without having what he calls "the doctor/patient thing" intervene. He has done this by asking people with spinal cord injuries the simple question of what it is like to live without sensation and movement in the body. If the body has absented itself, where does the person reside? He describes his method in the first chapter: "I have gone to people, not with a white coat or a stethoscope...[but] to listen to their lives as they ...

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Overview

In writing Still Lives, Jonathan Cole wanted to find out about living in a wheelchair, without having what he calls "the doctor/patient thing" intervene. He has done this by asking people with spinal cord injuries the simple question of what it is like to live without sensation and movement in the body. If the body has absented itself, where does the person reside? He describes his method in the first chapter: "I have gone to people, not with a white coat or a stethoscope...[but] to listen to their lives as they express them," and it is the candid and powerful narratives of twelve people with spinal cord injuries that form the heart of the book.Asking his simple question, Cole discovers that there is no single or simple answer. The twelve people with tetraplegia (known as quadriplegia in the US) or paraplegia whose stories he tells testify to similar impairments but widely differing experiences. Cole employs their individual responses to shape the book into six main sections: "Enduring," "Exploring," "Experimenting," "Observing,"
"Empowering," and, finally, "Continuing." Each concludes with a commentary on the broader issues raised. Still Lives moves from a view of impairment as tragedy to reveal the possibilities and richness of experience available to those living with spinal injuries. More universally, it offers new perspectives on our relation to our bodies. In exploring the creative and imaginative adjustments required to construct a "still life," it makes a plea for the able-bodied to adjust their view of this most profound of impairments.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Illuminating reading; inspiring, too." Roy Herbert
NewScientist

The MIT Press

"These interviews...have a documentary quality that makes them gripping."
Druin Burch Times Literary Supplement

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262532846
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Cole, D.M., F.R.C.P., is Consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology, Poole
Hospital, and at Salisbury Hospital (with its Spinal Centre), a Professor at
Bournemouth University and a visiting Senior Lecturer, Southampton
University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
I Introduction 1
1 Twenty Years On 3
II Enduring 23
2 We Are All New Boys 25
3 I Do Not Live a Normal Life 39
4 Endurance 53
III Exploring 63
5 Heads Up to the World 65
6 Being Someone Else 81
7 Exploration 97
IV Experimenting 107
8 Because I Can 109
9 Me and It 127
10 Experimentation 143
V Observing 155
11 The Windsurfer 157
12 Both Sides Now 167
VI Empowering 179
13 Disability Matters 181
14 Flyers and Nonflyers 207
15 Empowerment 225
VII Continuing 235
16 For What I Am 237
17 Finding New Things 255
VIII Commentary 269
18 The Dreary Ooze 271
App.: Useful Websites 299
Notes 301
References 319
Index 325
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