Thursday, September 3, 2020

About This Blog

Pathographies are illness narratives and have become increasingly popular over the past few decades.  This blog contains references to illness narratives that I have found helpful.  The genre is interesting and important.   

There are three main types of pathography (and they may overlap):  Quest, Chaos and Restitution stories.  Pathographies are an essential adjunct to learning about the illness experience.

·      Quest: a person journeys through and faces suffering head on in the belief that something is to be gained from the illness experience.

·      Chaos: The rarest type and often the most important.  When people are overwhelmed by the intensity of their illness, to speak coherently becomes impossible. The underlying message is that life does not get better. All this provokes anxiety as the mask slips off to reveal human frailty and vulnerability. No Hollywood endings here.  

·      Restitution: In the West, we are mainly preoccupied with the restitution narrative, which goes: "Yesterday I was healthy, today I am sick but tomorrow I will be healthy again." There is a belief in restorable health.  Planet Hollywood rules.

Arthur Frank wrote a book about pathographies called "The Wounded Storyteller" (1995).  Notes on this can be found at Google-Docs. It's more than most people will want to read, but if you do, contact me if you need an invitation.