Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and Other Clinical Tales

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THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT brings together twenty-four of Oliver Sacks’ most fascinating and beloved case studies. The patients in these pages are confronted with almost inconceivably strange neurological disorders; in Sacks’ telling, their stories are a profound testament to the adaptability of the human brain and the resilience of the human spirit.
Dr. Sacks treats each of his subjects—the amnesic fifty-year-old man who believes himself to be a young sailor in the Navy, the “disembodied” woman whose limbs have become alien to her, and of course the famous man who mistook his wife for a hat—with a deep respect for the unique individual living beneath the disorder. These tales inspire awe and empathy, allowing the reader to enter the uncanny worlds of those with autism, Alzheimer's, Tourette's syndrome, and other unfathomable neurological conditions.
“One of the great clinical writers of the 20th century” (The New York Times), Dr. Sacks brings to vivid life some of the most fundamental questions about identity and the human mind.
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311 printed pages
Original publication


    Мариshared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths
    💡Learnt A Lot
    💞Loved Up

    Great book! Absolutely loved it.

    Morten Storm Hansenshared an impression5 months ago
    🙈Lost On Me


    boydhas quoted4 years ago
    The sort of facetious indifference and ‘equalisation’ shown by this patient is not uncommon—German neurologists call it Witzel-sucht
    Zhenya Chaikahas quotedlast month
    This brings us to our final question: is there any ‘place’ in the world for a man who is like an island, who cannot be acculturated, made part of the main? Can ‘the main’ accommodate, make room for, the singular?
    Zhenya Chaikahas quoted2 months ago
    I’m like a sort of living carpet. I need a pattern, a design, like you have on that carpet. I come apart, I unravel, unless there’s a design.’ I looked down at the carpet, as Rebecca said this, and found myself thinking of Sherrington’s famous image, comparing the brain/mind to an ‘enchanted loom’, weaving patterns ever-dissolving, but always with meaning. I thought: can one have a raw carpet without a design? Could one have the design without the carpet (but this seemed like the smile without the Cheshire cat)? A ‘living’ carpet, as Rebecca was, had to have both—and she especially, with her lack of schematic structure (the warp and woof, the knit, of the carpet, so to speak), might indeed unravel without a design (the scenic or narrative structure of the carpet).

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