Synopses & Reviews
In How Does It Hurt?
, acclaimed poet and biographer Stephanie de Montalk tells the story of the chronic pain that has invaded her life for more than 10 years. She considers how her early experiences have been cast into fresh relief by what she has endured, then goes back in time to investigate the lives and works of three writers who also lived with and wrote about pain: “the consolator,” English social theorist Harriet Martineau (1802–1876), “the vendor of happiness,” French novelist Alphonse Daudet (1840–1897), and “the imago,” Polish poet Aleksander Wat (1900–1967). Through these explorations de Montalk confronts the paradox of writing about suffering: where we can turn when the pain is beyond words? A unique blend of memoir, imaginative biography, and poetry, How Does It Hurt?
is a groundbreaking contribution to the understanding of chronic pain and a spellbinding literary achievement.
“A wonderfully powerful, important, and beautiful piece of work which makes a major contribution to the understanding of the subject of pain. The success of the project lies in the fact that the author illuminates the ugly problem of pain, from so many angles, using so many light sources, with such beauty.” —Mike Hanne, author, The Power of the Story: Fiction and Political Change
“Reminds us that some of the most notable and innovative intellectual and artistic figures were people with disabilities—and that the history of creativity and the history of living with suffering are inextricably intertwined. Stephanie de Montalk’s own contribution is a riveting and compelling read.” —Martha Stoddard Holmes, author, Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture
About the Author
Stephanie de Montalk is the award-winning author of the novel The Fountain of Tears, the biography Unquiet World: The Life of Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk, and three collections of poetry.