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The Empathy Exams: Essays (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2014


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Broché, 1 avril 2014
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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

'A work of tremendous pleasure and tremendous pain. Leslie Jamison is so intelligent, so compassionate, and so fiercely, prodigiously brave. This is the essay at its creative, philosophical best' --Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries

'Extraordinary... Her cerebral, witty, multichambered essays tend to swing around to one topic in particular: what we mean when we say that we feel someone else's pain. I'll read whatever she writes. A rare writer' --New York Times

'Extraordinary, exacting and virtuosic... There is a glory to her writing that derives as much from its ethical generosity as it does from the lovely vividness of the language itself. It's hard to imagine a stronger, more thoughtful voice emerging this year' --Olivia Laing, New York Times Book Review

'A page-turner... Jamison is revitalising the post-Susan Sontag essay' --Sunday Times

'Extraordinary... Jamison is one of the form's most compelling voices. The Empathy Exams is a challenging book, pushing the reader forward even when the subject matter grows gruesome or difficult' --New Statesman

'Leslie Jamison has been hailed as a startling new voice in American letters. The Empathy Exams demonstrates why she's attracting such attention. She combines fearless questioning with utterly compelling story-telling' --New Internationalist

'This mix of low and high cultures, contemporary and ancient, intimate and public makes her writing and subjects shockingly fresh and new. Think Sloane Crosley in a deep and contemplative email exchange with Susan Sontag' --Twin Factory

'The Empathy Exams is substantial, well-read, full of research. The best pieces are reportage. Jamison is lucid and lively with a good eye for interest' --Times Literary Supplement

'This mix of low and high cultures, contemporary and ancient, intimate and public makes her writing and subjects shockingly fresh and new. Think Sloane Crosley in a deep and contemplative email exchange with Susan Sontag' --Twin Factory

'Each essay is illuminating, stylish and a pleasure to read' --'Book of the Year', Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, Guardian

'This mix of low and high cultures, contemporary and ancient, intimate and public makes her writing and subjects shockingly fresh and new. Think Sloane Crosley in a deep and contemplative email exchange with Susan Sontag' --Twin Factory

'Essay collections of note include Leslie Jamison's brilliant Empathy Exams, which explores pain, Frida Kahlo and literary heroines' --'Book of the year', Irish Times

'This mix of low and high cultures, contemporary and ancient, intimate and public makes her writing and subjects shockingly fresh and new. Think Sloane Crosley in a deep and contemplative email exchange with Susan Sontag' --Twin Factory --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

The subjects of this stylish and audacious collection of essays range from an assault in Nicaragua to a Morgellons meeting; from Frida Kahlo's plaster casts to a gangland tour of LA. Jamison is interested in how we tell stories about injury and pain, and the limits that circumstances, bodies and identity put on the act of describing. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x907e8834) étoiles sur 5 113 commentaires
51 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90d113d8) étoiles sur 5 Terrific collection 20 avril 2014
Par Michael Czobit - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Leslie Jamison's "The Empathy Exams" has deservedly been praised by critics, but that's not what brought me to buying and reading it. I'd read some of the essays here in various publications. Before you buy the book, I recommend a quick Google search to find one or two of the essays floating around the 'net; read those and you'll get a good idea if you want to continue with Jamison for a full book. I hope you do; it's a terrific collection, as I said.
71 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90722f6c) étoiles sur 5 Am I the only person who didn't like this? 1 octobre 2014
Par Kara - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The more concrete essays (like the one about Morgellons disease or the one about the Barkley Marathons) are quite good. The rest of them are well-written, but I couldn't get past the author's tone. And I can't even quite put my finger on it, but let me try.

Jamison says, "Part of me has always craved a pain so visible--so irrefutable and physically inescapable--that everyone would have to notice."

Pain is a very personal thing, and these are a bunch of essays about different kinds of pain. And no matter whose pain it ultimately is, Jamison finds a way to turn it around and bring it back to her. Even in the Morgellons disease essay, she ends basically wondering if she herself has Morgellons. I didn't care for this. It feels like appropriation.

Sure, Jamison addresses this almost directly in her last essay, and sure, maybe I'm one of those people who don't feel comfortable with the expression of pain, but all that means is that I didn't find the book as enjoyable as I wanted to.
78 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90592b58) étoiles sur 5 "Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick." 10 avril 2014
Par Amelia Gremelspacher - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This quote by Susan Sontag serves as a central tenet of this book of essays. Jamison's intent is to explore the ways that empathy allows each of us to understand the pain of the other as a part of your own. In accepting that merging of her boundaries, she learns the underlying unity of pain. "No trauma has discrete edges" within the person. But also trauma cannot occur in isolation.

I respect the underlying premise of these essays, and I think the goal is reached in pockets of Jamison's prose. However her line of thought is often distorted or too broadly amorphous. The language is not easy to read in a sitting. Ease of transition is not a necessary element for me in judging writing, however she can be just too confusing. I understand the trope she is painting as the observed sufferers are seen as part of the observer, but it is often done in too abrupt a transition. Although her intent is clearly not to offer her own pain as primary or unique, it appears often enough to be tiring and ultimately overdone.

The topics of the essays are in fact quite fascinating in scope. She explores such diverse topics as those people who act as patients to train medical students to sufferers of the rare and controversial Morgollons disease in which people find crystals and threads emerging from within them. The chopping of the chapters with her philosophical musings tend to lead the mind off the frame of the topic rather than more deeply in exploration. All in all it felt as if she just couldn't get out of her own way which is a shame because this book held a lot of promise..
32 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91fb8edc) étoiles sur 5 Few people will ever risk so much to tell us something so important about ourselves. 13 juin 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
It is all too common for even the most honest of writers to slip in to their work a certain amount of self-praise and narcissism veiled only as skillfully as they are able to write, and their readers are willing to overlook (if not accept outright).

This is not that.
It should never be mistaken for that.

Separating oneself from the mistakes, the suffering, the lesser-nesses of others-- to write about human tragedies from a safe distance-- is to coddle oneself and one's readers with security that is is unkind and insulting to everyone involved.
Leslie Jamison does the opposite of this. This is what courage looks like. It is tragic when it is so rare that we're suspicious of it, and don't recognize it when we see it.

She exposes herself-- so nakedly, so bravely--and at such personal cost. She shares with us--as she has shared with her subjects-- that which is endlessly painful and personally precious, and unfailingly honest. That's the point. Make no mistake: this is hard.

Who among us has dared to expose his or her most secret self? How often do we make naked the parts of ourselves we so painstakingly hide? Naturally, we conceal the raw places that do not/ will not heal. We hide what we fear is ugly-- or what we know is hideous. Who doesn't understand the shame of wishing to either heal or die (sometimes one doesn't care) without the sharp scrutiny and judgment of others?

Jamison was not *unafraid* to be naked in all the most terrifying ways--but make no mistake: she was fearless. She did it anyway, and only because it was necessary. She did it not because it was gratifying to expose herself-- but because it is among the hardest things one can do. Readers can *feel* that. That's the idea. Hers was a conscious choice to violently destroy the remove that insulates us from feeling about others as we do AS others-- rather than as we feel for ourselves.

This is no easy task-- and she has accepted great costs to herself to do so. Jamison gives us insight into everything we have no right to know about her. Can you really conceive of doing that yourself?

What we are seeing here is very unusual, and very important. Leslie Jamison evinces truly exceptional generosity of spirit-- the willingness to share the experience of wounds we all have (however much we choose to feel or share them). She invites us to experience empathy--and to witness our limitations.

This is so uncommon-- so unusual-- so rare-- that it is almost impossible NOT to mistake it for something else.

We only see what we already know (Goethe?). Typically people have shared their most private pain for altogether different reasons: as confession-for-manipulation, as excuse, as salacious self-promotion. We have too little experience with what "The Empathy Exams" offers. Jamison's is a very important and rare kind of honesty.

Leslie Jamison's subject, her approach, her goal-- her very style-- is the exception to the rule. What she is sharing with us is bound to make us uncomfortable-- and that is precisely the point. It is a courageous invitation to empathize-- and very much an experiment for everyone concerned.

It is dangerous and threatening to allow ourselves to feel for another person as we would feel for ourselves. Our empathy is designed with limitations. If all these pains were our own-- if we had felt them as acutely as by the author and her subjects-- and for the author and her subjects-- we might be destroyed. As self-protection, of sorts, we cannot feel that fully. But we need not find ourselves at the opposite extreme.

If no one believed that the worm living in your ankle was real-- if you barely believed it yourself (Good god! What a ridiculous idea! You must be crazy!)-- and then that worm prairie-dogged, and peered-out from your own flesh... How would that *feel*? Can you even imagine it?

This is among the many complex challenges of empathy: to feel for someone else as if we are part of the same, seamless soul. Because we are. Nothing about that is uncomplicated or easy.

The author is not exposing or analyzing herself because she is luxuriating in some form of indulgent narcissism. No. Emphatically: NO. We don't recognize the opposite of extreme narcissism when we see it-- perhaps, because it is just too rare. This is something special, here. We might not see the likes of it ever again.

Leslie Jamison has taken great pains to invite us (in spite of valid fears, serious personal risk, and how much it dearly hurts her) to apprehend empathy and where our limitations lie. We should pay attention. Few people will ever risk so much to tell us something so important about ourselves.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x905c4b58) étoiles sur 5 An uneven mix of the journalistic and personal; deeply insightful but also self-absorbed 28 octobre 2014
Par Genevieve D. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
We all carry emotional burdens and scars. What does it mean to identify with and acknowledge that pain in others? Is it like being a tourist in a foreign land, with aspects of immersion and voyeurism? In The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison tackles these questions and more through essays that chronicle her encounters with people dealing with physical or emotional pain, as well as her engagements with larger cultural traumas and their constructs.

The essay as a literary form is underrated, and I really wanted to love this collection. By its very nature, the essay is grounded in the personal, which can make for evocative writing in the right hands. But Jamison's collection veers into self-obsession in too many places, and what is strutted out as deep analysis comes off as nothing more than sound and fury. The writing in The Empathy Exams isn't consistent and some essays careen into a hodgepodge of digressions and confessions. I'm fine with Jamison revealing her guilt and anxieties—it's a book of essays about empathy after all—but Jamison lays it on thick.

What I hoped to find in this much-hyped collection was intellectual honesty and emotional truth. What I got was something of a mixed bag. Jamison's writing is a blend of the journalistic and personal, with a heavy-hand on the personal. She seeks to understand—so I think the intellectual honesty is there—but her earnestness feels strained, like a singer hitting high notes she has no business hitting. In fact, I cringed every time Jamison tries to paint experiences, which are obviously grounded in realities far removed from her own, with poetic, hazy brushstrokes to make them her own. Ugh. Like a form of appropriation. The sad irony: This kind of writing actually screams a lack of empathy.

In the title essay, one of the better ones, Jamison tells of a time she worked as a medical actor portraying 'patient profiles' for doctors in training. She alternates fictional case profiles with profiles of herself and recalls the time she got an abortion and the emotional fallout from that. It's poignant. In "Devil's Bait" Jamison examines Morgellons disease, a mysterious condition that has baffled the medical establishment and has become a catchall for people who develop skin ailments like lesions and growths that can't be explained. Jamison enters the tight-knit community of Morgellons sufferers and documents her conversations with them. It's a look at the pain and shared bonds of their collective hysteria. By far, this foray into medical anthropology was my favorite.

In "The Immortal Horizon" Jamison meets a group of wilderness ultra-marathon runners and explores their drive to push their physical and mental limits. Jamison is piercingly insightful here. She notes how one runner describes his motivation for participating in the Barkley races:

"He wants to achieve a completely insular system of accountability, one that doesn't depend on external feedback. He wants to run a hundred miles when no one knows he's running, so that the desire to impress people, or the shame of quitting, won't constitute his sources of motivation. … When it's midnight and it's raining and you're on the steepest hill you've ever climbed and you're bleeding from briars and you're alone and you've been alone for hours, it's only you around to witness yourself quit or continue."

In that single epiphany, Jamison zooms in on the irony of reaching that physical nirvana from a state of isolation. It's empathy and anti-empathy juxtaposed together. In the concluding essay, "Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain," Jamison goes full feminist tilt and delves into how women and their pain have been depicted in literature and popular culture. Very smart writing here.

Unfortunately there are also essays that fall flat. These, I noticed, are the ones that chronicle her experiences abroad. One describes her meeting with the Mexican literati and considers the violence inflicted by the drug cartels and how the trauma of that has been channeled through art and poetry. Another discusses an assault Jamison experienced while teaching in Nicaragua. The writing gets thin here.

Overall, The Empathy Exams is just more style than substance for me. Sometimes I wished she focused more on the reporting in her essays; when she does her writing is illuminating. It shouldn't be about doing your utmost to analyze and understand and filter, but doing more to listen to others and the world around you. That's true empathy.
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