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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Provocative but often funny, encyclopedic but down to earth...Hustvedt's erudite book deepens one's wonder about the relation of body and mind. (Oliver Sacks)

Readers of Oliver Sacks will rate this book highly; as with Sacks, scientific knowledge and a powerful capacity for empathy are closely linked...It is Hustvedt's gift to write with exemplary clarity of what is by necessity unclear. (Hilary Mantel, Guardian)

She thinks her way through complex subject matter with the effortless clarity of a poised and sceptical outsider...a short book with an encyclopaedic breadth (Lisa Appignanesi, Independent)

She has an enviable ability to digest and reframe her discoveries into clear, accessible prose (Melanie McGrath, Sunday Telegraph)

Fascinating...what gives the book its originality is that she wavers on the edge of the various disciplines, preferring her own imaginative, deeply personal reflections to the potential certainty that might be offered by doctors...Although a desire for clear-cut answers is understandable, Hustvedt suggests that this is often far from possible. And she leaves the reader thinking about his or her own bouts of illness in a thoroughly fresh way. (Lorna Bradbury, Daily Telegraph)

Présentation de l'éditeur

While speaking at a memorial event for her father, the novelist Siri Hustvedt suffered a violent seizure from the neck down. Was it triggered by nerves, emotion - or something else entirely?

In this profoundly thought-provoking and revealing book, Hustvedt takes the reader on her journey through psychiatry, philosophy, neuroscience and medical history in search of a diagnosis. Conveying the often frightening mysteries of illness, she illuminates the perenially mysterious connection between mind and body and what we mean by 'I'.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 224 pages
  • Editeur : Sceptre (3 février 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0340998776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340998779
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,3 x 12,7 x 1,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 31.289 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Né en 1955, Siri Husvedt a fait ses études à Columbia University. Elle vit à Brooklyn. Ses romans, tous publiés chez Actes Sud - Les Yeux bandés (1993 ; Babel n° 196), L'Envoûtement de Lily Dahl (1996 ; Babel n° 380), Yonder (1999 ; Babel n° 774), Les Mystères du rectangle (2006, essais sur la peinture), Tout ce que j'aimais (2003 ; Babel n° 686), Elégie pour un Américain (2008 ; Babel n° 1006), Plaidoyer pour Eros (2009, essais littéraires) et La Femme qui tremble (2010, essai) - ont été largement remarqués.

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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par pietro-di-tricesimo VOIX VINE le 7 juin 2011
Format: Broché
Très différent des romans, Siri Hustvedt montre ici une précision de détective scientifique pour trouver la source d'un trouble (les tremblements en public) apparus lors d'un hommage à son père décédé. Elle montre que la science a parfois besoin d'amateurs éclairés et libres penseurs pour avancer. Livre intéressant aussi pour tous ceux qui souffrent de troubles corporels lors des certains événements en tension. Ce que l'on connaît peu en France et que l'on appelle le petit mal ou crise épileptique sans perte de connaissance.
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47 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Big on history, very short on her own story 21 décembre 2009
Par S. L. Smith - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Imagine the irony as an inexplicable shaking phenomenon befalls an author with a PhD in English Literature who has researched the field of psychiatry to the point of even taking practice exams for the state psychiatry board.

Fascinated by the title and its topic, I was hoping to learn more about this woman's extraordinarily perplexing affliction. Sadly, "The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves" is less about author Siri Hustvedt or HER own nerves and more about the history of the mind/body issue. In fact, the author's own story is frustratingly fragmentary, which is unfortunate because Hustvedt is clearly a deeply cerebral and literate writer.

Despite the title, there is very little heard from the Shaking Woman's case herself and practically NO history of her own nerves. For every brief paragraph in which we do learn about the author's disorder, there are about 30 pages of the history of psychiatry, psychology, pharmacology, philosophy, and personality research. This is disappointing, because the author's personal story is the only new topic here; all other points made about mind/body have been discussed previously and far more lucidly by others, as indicated in her nearly 200 well-documented reference notes.

As for the plethora of reference notes, this book reads more like an advanced college term paper. Open it to any page, and you will likely find 2 to 5 references to OTHER people's musings; the author simply cannot resist interjecting quotations throughout this 200 page ramble. By doing so, she deflects attention away from her own interesting case and avoids discussing herself in any deeply meaningful way.

Hustvedt writes in a stream-of-consciousness manner that makes for a bit of a messy and manic read after just a few pages. For instance, in one particular paragraph her subject flits from schizophrenia to amoebas and ends with the atom bomb.

What could be a fascinating story is further confounded by Hustvedt's writing style which involves visiting imaginary therapists and a fake neurologist. She theorizes what different hypothetical diagnoses MIGHT indicate, then expounds for pages and pages using those suppositions. These techniques make it difficult to discern the imaginary from the actual and the supposed from the observed. Instead of being provocative, this book is just exasperating and overwrought.

I admit I am a fan of the TV series "Mystery Diagnosis", so perhaps I was simplistically hoping for something similar from Hustvedt's The Shaking Woman. But there is no satisfying conclusion or resolution here; instead she just uses her own symptoms as a context for discussing the much broader mind/body dilemma, which she successfully convinces us can never truly be resolved. Ultimately, it is with resignation and not insightful acceptance that she seems to come to term with her disorder.
27 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Evolution & the N/A Box 16 mars 2010
Par Glacier Mom - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The very idea of this book--before it was released, when I'd just read advance reviews and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy--was a lifeline to me, sitting in pediatric neurology. My 7-year-old daughter, an extraordinarily bright, creatively-gifted, highly-sensitive child, had begun seeing colors, visual hallucinations, followed shortly by hearing voices and sounds; she complained of dizziness and nausea and was slightly withdrawn; quickly, she adapted to the sensory phenomenon and stopped complaining of vertigo, but she then began to tell me of other sensations: her math paper at school felt "hot"; when she turned it over, it felt like ice. While the neurologist and child psychiatrist staked out their territories--and at this point, it seems unlikely we'll have a clear diagnosis--I maintained the possibility of synesthesia or a benign manifestation of her visual-spatial creativity. As a mother, I struggled to understand whether we were dealing with pathology or, on the other hand, an integral expression of my daughter's nervous system. I had, over the years, read deeply in subjects such as high-sensitivity (Elaine Aron), giftedness and superstimulabilities (Dabrowki's Theory of Positive Disintegration), as well as diagnosis and misdiagnosis of disorders among gifted persons. My bias--and I hoped Hustvedt's book would back me here--was that some people just see and hear extra stuff, and it's not a problem.

What surprised me, then, was how irritating and slow I found the book initially, as Hustvedt takes on the brain-mind dichotomy, philosophical duality, in her quest for integration of the "shaking woman" as part of her identity. I consider the either/or, neurologist/psychiatrist mentality to be part of the limitations of allopathy, and to me, this dual mode is old-fashioned (I contrast with Goethe on the spiritual dimension of science or Integral philosophers on holographics). Certainly I was repulsed by Hustvedt's impulse to demonstrate her expertise in this narrow and deep sense, by her comparisons of herself with brain-injured patients, though perhaps this reflects the difference between a middle-aged woman contemplating her own condition and one contemplating her child's; I will unapologetically go far afield, considering everything from Indigo Children to EMF fields, nutrition to homeopathy.

Sometimes her thinking on subjects like self and social construction is just achingly conventional and prosaic. "Isn't it possible that this visual metaphor is problematic, that the very idea of hierarchical levels is flawed? Can brain, psyche, and culture really be distinguished so neatly?" she asks--I have an irritable impulse to drag out Ken Wilber's maps and grids. Or, when she writes, "The conscious self's boundaries shift," or "clearly, a self is much larger than the internal narrator," I want to respond with a "duh." I'd rather read Proust. Or Lydia Davis, for that matter--"The Thyroid Diaries."

Hustvedt is a brilliant student, and she reminds me of certain other woman writers I've come across who tell you everything anyone from Aristotle to Freud ever said on a given subject, withholding their own opinions until safely establishing their competence. I liked the book in a backwards direction; towards the end, the gathering of her thoughts on empathy, extraordinary sensitivity, high I.Q., transcendence--these things I liked, this is where I'd wish for the book to start. It isn't until the very end--perhaps, having displayed her conventional competence, she feels safe--that she tells you of her beginnings--as a child seeing and hearing things. For this I am deeply grateful.
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
She's a better novelist than essayist 6 janvier 2010
Par Melanchthon - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
In this book, Siri Hustvedt, one of the best American novelists writing today, offers a few brief glimpses into her struggles with psychosomatic illness (shaking during public speaking related to the trauma of losing her father) and a long recital of different sorts of such illnesses in history and psychiatric practice. Her insights into her own situation were interesting, and I found tantalizing the few points where she connects her own physical problems with her emotional states, but most of the book is regurgitation of research on these topics, and I found her not only less insightful about the quality of the research she recounted, but also disorganized. The middle chunk of the book is just one story about a psychological oddity discovered by a doctor after another, and the thread of the tale gets lost. Too bad, I really wanted to like this.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Our minds are a mystery, even to us... 7 décembre 2009
Par atmj - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I opted to receive this Advanced Reader's copy from Amazon's Vine program, because of my interest in medical information and stories.

The author Siri Hustvedt has written about a particular phenomena that happened to her one day while speaking at a tree dedication for her father a few years after his death. She experienced a very strange spasm of uncontrollable shaking of her body, but was able to continue speaking and completed her talk on the tree dedication.

This book centers on that one weird occurrence and the author muses through the rest of the book on her unusual health problems as well as the research she has done on this, as well as for other books.

Any one that has been unsatisfied by medical diagnoses can well understand why the author would dedicate so much time and energy to finding some answers.

The book goes into various different causes of a mind-body disconnect and covers quite a breadth of studies that support this theory or that. In fact there are 192 foot notes and all are medical or other references, so if you find something that really catches your interest you can follow up on it.

I found the book a bit dense to read as it felt like one single breath. The reason I pointed out above that I received an Advance Reader's copy is that there are no chapters in this book. I don't know if that it the author's preference or if it is an outcome of being an advanced copy. Unfortunately it makes it hard to manage such involved information, when you don't have a sense of "grouping". Since there were so many thoughts on mind-body disconnects and the various different theories associated, I found it hard to keep track of previous parts. Usually chapters do that for me. I used post-it-notes in this case.

Additionally, the author provides you with a sense she has disclosed all of the pertinent information about the shaking incident before she goes on to discuss the various possible causes. However on page 118 and 126 of this 213 page book she brings up some very pertinent data that makes you feel like it was omitted to lead your train of thought down a particular path. One was a particular incident her father had and another was her own synesthesia. These are not unrelated. I didn't like to find out that this very important piece of information was left till you had read nearly half the book.

What I did find particularly interesting was the philosophical discussions on the nature of pain and her feelings on a scientists attempt to quantify it. Also the discussions on consciousness and various ideas of what constitutes "real" were quite compelling.
I like that she leaves some ideas very open.

In summary; this is an interesting book; that would be very much improved by some structure. I think the philosophical discussions were very interesting and could create a book in them selves.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Engaged and then Unsatisfied 17 décembre 2009
Par Addison Dewitt - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Hustvedt's "Shaking Woman" has a very interesting premise. Her father dies and due to the fact that she didn't mourn his death to any real extent, she ends up with tremors so strong they border on epileptic, but only on occasion and only under stress. She embarks on a quest to find out why this happens, but answers her own question within the question. The rest of the book - which seems like a long-winded story without end, a fact I'll get back to later - is philosophical delving. Neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, neuropathy, philosophy, therapies of all kinds and pharmaceuticals... all are explored for possible solutions but all seem to raise more questions than they answer. Instead, these become the "meat" that give Hustvedt her base with which to let a giant pot of bland broth simmer.

And it simmers on and on without a break. The entire book is one chapter. One very long chapter. Her thoughts are not well organized, so we are taken along a somewhat stream-of-consciousness voyage that circles around to the main question, over and over. While it may be a fun experiment to create, it's not a lot of fun to read. I felt trapped in this book and I no longer cared why she was shaking after about 100 pages. There were simply too many side roads and she took them all.

This book might be interesting to those who are involved in one of the fields of study mentioned above, but for the layperson, it was not very satisfying. Not for general audiences, I'd let this one stay in the medical library.
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