Saturday, March 05, 2005

An excellent profile

of Oliver Sacks at the Guardian. What follows is a highlight, but the whole thing isn't so gory (and there are some really interesting remarks on the first person versus the third person): "Both parents shared their medical passions with him. In his mother's case, this took forms that now seem grotesque: 'She would occasionally bring back malformed foetuses to the house - anencephalic ones with a protruding eye at the top of their brainless, flattened heads, or spina bifida ones in which the whole spinal cord and brainstem were exposed. Some of these had been still-born; others she and the matron had quietly drowned at birth ('Like a kitten,' she once said) feeling that if they had lived no conscious or mental life would ever be possible for them. Eager that I should learn about anatomy and medicine, she dissected several herself, and then insisted, though I was only 11, that I dissect them myself.' "

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