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Frank Cioffi, 8 May 1997

Lectures on Conversation: Vols I-II 
by Harvey Sacks, edited by Gail Jefferson.
Blackwell, 1520 pp., £35, January 1995, 1 55786 705 4
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... An unfortunate student who had been attempting to attract Harvey Sacks’s attention: HS: Are you asking a question, or are you bidding or what? Q: Well I was just wondering if we are ever going to get round to the topics of conversation. HS: That’s an amazing question … What do you have in mind? Q: I just feel we should get some content ...

The Leg

Oliver Sacks, 17 June 1982

... of being in a great hurry. He came in to see me after I had already been given the premed. ‘Sacks!’ he snapped. ‘You’ve ruptured the quadriceps tendon. We reconnect it. That’s all.’ With this he disappeared. I had neither said, nor been able to say, a single word. Operation Since I live to observe, to remember, to record, it is a grief to me ...


Iain Sinclair: London’s Lost Cinemas, 6 November 2014

... remote prints of reality. Meanwhile, on the same afternoon, the nominated patsy/marksman, Lee Harvey Oswald, who looked nothing like the potential presidential assassins played by Frank Sinatra (in Suddenly) or Laurence Harvey (in The Manchurian Candidate), slid ticketless into the Texas Theatre in Dallas, for a double ...

Call a kid a zebra

Daniel Smith: On the Spectrum, 19 May 2016

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism 
by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 1 84614 566 7
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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently 
by Steve Silberman.
Allen and Unwin, 534 pp., £9.99, February 2016, 978 1 76011 364 3
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... and the world. Autism was seen as outside the realm of regular human functioning. When Oliver Sacks read Temple Grandin’s 1986 memoir, Emergence: Labelled Autistic, he thought Grandin’s co-author, Margaret Scariano, must have written it. ‘The autistic mind, it was supposed at that time, was incapable of self-understanding and understanding others ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... processed for bread. ‘When I was a boy we used to take the stuff off the combine harvester in sacks,’ he said. ‘There were about ten men running around carrying sacks. Now it never touches human hand. You couldn’t find jobs for ten men now.’ Michael has one man: his father Jim. When I asked him to tell me about ...

Even Immortality

Thomas Laqueur: Medicomania, 29 July 1999

The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present 
by Roy Porter.
HarperCollins, 833 pp., £24.99, February 1999, 0 00 637454 9
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... when discoveries if not cures begin to pile up at an increasing pace. In the age of Vesalius and Harvey, modernity and medicine begin their strange, ambiguously successful, pas de deux, as the body is mapped in ever finer detail, its deepest secrets are brought to light, and its ailments are chronicled, ameliorated and on occasion even conquered. Porter’s ...

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