Breathless: An Asthma Journal

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Beacon Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 153 pages
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In this intensely personal account of her adult-onset asthma, acclaimed literary biographer and memoirist Louise DeSalvo explores asthma as both an illness and a response to abuse in our modern age, from environmental crisis to childhood trauma. DeSalvo looks for clues in moments of breathlessness from her own family past: the early sexual abuse that left her gasping in fear, her sister's suicide by hanging. She looks too at the lives of asthmatic writers - Proust, of course, but also Elizabeth Bishop, Olive Schreiner, Michael Ryan, and John Updike - always "in search of images of breathlessness" and asthma's effects on self-image and artistic creation.

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Breathless: an asthma journal

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Afflicting more than ten million Americans each year, asthma is a disorder characterized by repeated episodes of chest constriction, difficulty exhaling, coughing, and (sometimes) wheezing, triggered ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

DeSalvo, a frequent lecturer and guest on NPR and television, DeSalvo teaches literature and memoir writing full-time at Hunter College in New York City.

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