Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies
DasGupta, S., & Hurst, M., eds.
Primary Category: Literature / Literature
Genre: Anthology (Mixed Genres)
- Wear, Delese
- Date of entry: Nov-17-2007
- Last revised: Mar-22-2010
This edited anthology, which includes poems, essays, short stories, and other creative forms (e.g., a radio diary, a letter to a social service agency), is organized into sections that include Body and Self, Diagnosis and Treatment, Womanhood, Family Life and Caregiving, Professional Life and Illness, and Advocacy. Most works found their way into this collection through a call for submissions, although a few selections are well known, such as Lynne Sharon Schwartz's "So You're Going to Have a New Body !," or an excerpt from Rachel Naomi Remen's Kitchen Table Wisdom (see annotations). In addition, the anthology also includes essays by scholars such as Arthur W. Frank and Rita Charon, who theorize gendered illness narratives.
Sayantani Das Gupta is a pediatrician on the faculty at Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons; Marsha Hurst was the Director of the Graduate Program in Health Advocacy at Sarah Lawrence from 1998 through 2007.
The Kent State University Press
Sayantani Das Gupta & Marsha Hurst
While there are many memorable selections, some stand out, particularly Amy Haddad's poems "Stereotactic Biopsy" and "What if They Said," both from the section on Diagnosis and Treatment; Elissa Meites's "Choose," a revealing portrait of reproductive "choice" that illuminates the complex and ambivalent dimensions of the decision-making process; Kate Scannell's "Leave of Absence," which portrays the quiet shock of receiving a cancer diagnosis an hour and forty minutes before she is to leave for Paris and crosses the boundary of "before" and "after"; Kathy Boudin's narrative of AIDS activism when she was an inmate at a maximum security prison; all of Cortney Davis's work. A useful teaching tool, this volume is valuable for "scholars and students of narrative, illness, and women's experience, as well as men and women interested in, affected by, and working with illness."