The author of this memoir is a poet and writer who developed systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) during her first year at the University of Pennsylvania. Initially, her condition was difficult to diagnose, which led to her first negative encounters with physicians and the health care system. Later, Ms. Goldstein developed unusual neurological manifestations of SLE. Once again, she had trouble convincing her doctors that her symptoms were not only real, but also disabling. She was fortunate enough to come across a few good physicians who respected her as a person and earned her trust.

Despite her chronic illness, Ms. Goldstein thrived throughout college and graduate school. She approached each new challenge with such a positive attitude that some of her doctors considered her emotionally unstable. (I guess they thought it would be more "normal" for her to lose hope and turn herself into an invalid.) Her graduate work in literature focused on the new field of literature and medicine.


In the Introduction to Travels with the Wolf, the author states, "I found my form and voice by intertwining the themes and insights from my thesis with my poetry." Indeed, she conveys the insights in an engaging narrative style that welcomes the reader and guides him on a journey through the interior geography--the deserts and mountains and unnamed lands--of her experience.

The interspersed poems are synergistic with the text. They have the effect of way stations, where the traveler can pause, reflect, and experience the view. In all, Travels with the Wolf is a valuable addition to the literature of illness narratives (pathography).


Ohio State Univ. Press

Place Published

Columbus, Ohio



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