The Centre for Medical Humanities is delighted to offer Poetics and Politics of Alzheimer’s Disease Life-Writing’ (Zimmerman, 2017) for review, which explores the thoughts and experiences of people living with dementia. Further information about the themes under study can be found at Palgrave. Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities.
This is the first book-length exploration of the thoughts and experiences expressed by dementia patients in published narratives over the last thirty years. It contrasts third-person caregiver and first-person patient accounts from different languages and a range of media, focusing on the poetical and political questions these narratives raise: what images do narrators appropriate; what narrative plot do they adapt; and how do they draw on established strategies of life-writing. It also analyses how these accounts engage with the culturally dominant Alzheimer’s narrative that centres on dependence and vulnerability, and addresses how they relate to discourses of gender and aging. Linking literary scholarship to the medico-scientific understanding of dementia as a neurodegenerative condition, this book argues that, first, patients’ articulations must be made central to dementia discourse; and second, committed alleviation of caregiver burden through social support systems and altered healthcare policies requires significantly altered views about aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s patients.
If you would like to review ‘Poetics and Politics of Alzheimer’s Disease Life-Writing’ (no more than 1,000 words in length), then please consult our reviewer’s guidelines and email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.