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Stories of Sickness


Stories of Sickness Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Our personalities and our identities are intimately bound up with the stories that we tell to organize and to make sense of our lives. To understand the human meaning of illness, we therefore must turn to the stories we tell about illness, suffering, and medical care. Stories of Sickness explores the many dimensions of what illness means to the sufferers and to those around them, drawing on depictions of illness in great works of literature and in non-fiction accounts. The exploration is primarily philosophical but incorporates approaches from literature and from the medical social sciences. When it was first published in 1987, Stories of Sickness helped to inaugurate a renewed interest in the importance of narrative studies in health care. For the Second Edition the text has been thoroughly revised and significantly expanded. Four almost entirely new chapters have been added on the nature, complexities, and rigor of narrative ethics and how it is carried out. There is also an additional chapter on maladaptive ways of being sick that deals in greater depth with disability issues. Health care professionals, students of medicine and bioethics, and ordinary people coping with illness, no less than scholars in the health care humanities and social sciences, will find much of value in this volume.

Unique Features:

*Philosophically sophisticated yet clearly written and easily accessible

*Interdisciplinary approach--combines philosophy, literature, health care, social sciences

*Contains many fascinating stories and vignettes of illness drawn from both fiction and nonfiction

*A new and comprehensive overview of the "hot topic" of narrative ethics in medicine and health care

Book News Annotation:

Though the first edition was published in 1987, Brody (philosophy and family practice, Michigan State U.) says he wrote most of it in 1983 and 1984, when there was little or no recognition of the role narrative could play in medicine and ethics. Now that the notion is widely accepted, he has revised all the chapters, adding new examples from nonfiction. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

Howard Brody received his M.D. and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Michigan State University and completed a residency in Family Practice at the University of Virginia. He has been on the faculty at Michigan State University since 1980, serving as Director of the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University from 1985 to 2000.

Table of Contents


1. Storytelling in Medicine

2. The Nature and Complexities of Narrative

3. Dimensions of Sickness

4. Sickness, Life Stories, and Self-Respect

5. Types of Stories about Sickness

6. Sick Roles: Practices and Life Plans

7. How Sickness Alters Experience

8. Sickness and Social Relations

9. Stories of Life with Disability

10. Maladaptive Ways of Being Sick

11. What is Narrative Ethics

12. How Does One Do Narrative Ethics

13. Rigor in Narrative Judgements

14. Ethics and the Life-Span Narrative

15. Conclusion: The Patient-Health Professional Relationship as a Narrative

Product Details

Brody, Howard
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Howard
Brody, Howard
Mental health
Medicine | Ethics
Sick -- Psychology.
Health and Medicine-Medical Specialties
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
3 line illus.
9.22x6.12x.84 in. .99 lbs.

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