Diving Bell and the Butterfly A Memoir of Life in Death

ISBN-10: 0375701214

ISBN-13: 9780375701214

Edition: 1997

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Description: In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of FrenchElle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem.  After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book. By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication ofThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This book is a lasting testament to his life.

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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/23/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 144
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.528
Language: English

Jean-Dominique Bauby was just 43 years old when he suffered a massive stroke. At the time, he was a magazine editor. While the stroke spared Bauby's life and mind, it left him paralyzed. Self-described as "like a mind in a jar," Bauby was unable to move or speak. His only means of communication was his ability to blink his left eyelid. Before this condition claimed his life, Bauby painfully put his experiences and wisdom into the books, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, by correlating eye-blinking patterns and the French alphabet for transcription.

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