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An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical…
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An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales (original 1995; edition 1995)

by Oliver Sacks (Author)

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3,798532,603 (4.11)1 / 101
The author profiles seven neurological patients, including a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome and an artist whose color sense is destroyed in an accident but finds new creative power in black and white.
Member:VittTheSinger
Title:An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales
Authors:Oliver Sacks (Author)
Info:Picador (1995), Edition: 1st, 319 pages
Collections:Your library
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An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales by Oliver Sacks (1995)

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English (46)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (53)
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More good stuff from Sacks. More "everyday" conditions than The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, focusing on autism in particular. ( )
  hierogrammate | Jan 31, 2022 |
More good stuff from Sacks. More "everyday" conditions than The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, focusing on autism in particular.
  hierogrammate | Jan 31, 2022 |
Well written. But meh. ( )
  marzagao | Jun 1, 2021 |
I can't seem to focus on reading these days, though I'm supposed to be reading brothers karamazov for a book club. I plowed through, this, however, which is a testament to how fascinating these case studies are. It was my first experience with Oliver Sacks, and a wonderful one. I get the feeling I'll be reading his other books in the years to come.

In a way, reading Sacks is like taking a hallucinogen: you realize how many complex mental faculties are required for us to constitute our world. What we perceive as reality is an illusion generated by the coordination of sensory input with higher brain functions like memory. Somewhere along the line you develop something of a sense of self, which, reading these case studies of people whose brains work differently from most, is more tenuous than we like to imagine. I didn't actually hallucinate while sitting down with this book, though, unless you consider reading one.

I loved the fable-like quality of some of the scenarios: a painter who becomes colorblind, a surgeon with Tourettic physical tics, another painter who can only make images of his childhood village, so possessed is he by memories of it.

Sacks is a generous observer. He brings to bear great scientific understanding, but also great human empathy for his subjects. The mixture never seems out of balance. His methods are kind of a throwback to a time when science was less cordoned off from humanistic inquiry like philosophy and the arts. Literary and philosophical allusions, as well as constant reference to centuries-old accounts of neurological conditions are only the most obvious evidence of this sensibility. It is a welcome point of view, as his subjects' stories get to some pretty fundamental questions about human existence, which questions, if not explored fully here, are at least evoked with requisite wonder and care. A more strictly scientific or medical approach would not be able to take this more holistic view.

(I want to note that the proliferation of footnotes in this book is outrageous, something I would never normally tolerate. And yet... they were by and large fascinating, each like the best Wikipedia page you've ever stumbled upon.)
  trotta | Mar 4, 2021 |
Una serie di casi umani e clinici ci portano a capire meglio certe sindromi fisiche e mentali ( )
  Drusetta | Dec 30, 2020 |
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Epigraph
The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, but queerer than we can imagine.
J. B. S. Haldane
Ask not what disease the person has, but rather what person the disease has.
(attributed to) William Osler
Dedication
To the seven whose stories are related here
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I am writing this with my left hand, although I am strongly right-handed.
Early in March 1986 I received the following letter:
I am a rather successful artist just past 65 years of age.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The author profiles seven neurological patients, including a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome and an artist whose color sense is destroyed in an accident but finds new creative power in black and white.

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