At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 158 pages
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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.
 

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At the will of the body: reflections on illness

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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 ... Read full review

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Contents

Illness as a Dangerous Opportunity
1
Becoming III
8
Illness as Incident
16
Becoming III Again
22
Seeing Through Pain
29
Mourning What Is Lost
36
Care Has No Recipe
42
The Body as Territory and as Wonder
50
Stigma
91
Denial and Affirmation
99
Comforters and Accusers
108
Valuing Illness
115
Listening to the III
123
Ceremonies of Recovery
129
Gravy
136
Afterword
143

The Cost of Appearances
64
Chemotherapy and Adventure
72
The Struggle Is Not a Fight
83
Literary Debts
157
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About the author (2002)

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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