2016年4月19日 星期二

Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (1973)

"Sacks’s stories become a kind of memoir, a neurological romance and a profoundly sympathetic essay on the human condition."
How wonderful to see "Awakenings" at #12 on The Guardian's list of 100 best nonfiction books!
Oliver Sacks’s moving account of how, as a doctor in the late 1960s, he…

Awakenings (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the 1973 non-fiction book. For the 1990 film, see Awakenings. For other uses, see Awakening (disambiguation).
Front cover: black background, title above author's name, below author's name is quote from Frank Kermode, "This doctor's report... is written in a prose of such beauty that you might well look in vain for its equal among living practitioners of belles lettres."
Front cover of first UK edition,
Duckworth & Co., 1973[1]
AuthorOliver Sacks
CountryUnited States
GenreCase history
PublisherDuckworth & Co., 1973
Pelican, 1976
Picador, 1991, 2006, 2010
Publication date
1973, revised 1976 and 1991
Pages408 (First Edition)
Preceded byMigraine (1970)
Followed byA Leg to Stand On (1984)
Awakenings is a 1973 non-fiction book by Oliver Sacks. It recounts the life histories of those who had been victims of the 1920s encephalitis lethargica epidemic.[2] Sacks chronicles his efforts in the late 1960s to help these patients at the Beth Abraham Hospital (now Beth Abraham Health Services) in the BronxNew York. The treatment used the then-new drug L-DOPA.
In 1982, Dr. Sacks wrote:
I have become much more optimistic than I was when I […] wrote Awakenings,for there has been a significant number of patients who, following the vicissitudes of their first years on L-DOPA, came to do – and still do – extremely well. Such patients have undergone an enduring awakening, and enjoy possibilities of life which had been impossible, unthinkable, before the coming of L-DOPA.[3]
The book inspired the 1982 play A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter, performed as part of a trilogy of Pinter's plays titled Other Places, and a documentary television episode, the pilot of the British television programme Discovery. It was also made into a 1990 Oscar-nominated film, Awakenings starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
The 1976 edition of the book is dedicated to the memory of poet W. H. Auden, and bears an extract from Auden's 1969 poem The Art of Healing:
Papa would tell me,
'is not a science,
but the intuitive art
of wooing Nature.'
Prior to his 1973 death, Auden himself wrote: "Have read the book and think it a masterpiece".[4]


  1. Jump up^ "Awakenings by Sacks, Oliver". 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. Jump up^ MacCarthy, Fiona (5 December 1985), "Travels round a couch", The Times
  3. Jump up^ Sacks, Oliver, Awakenings, Amazon
  4. Jump up^ Sacks, O. (1976), Awakenings, Harmondsworth: Pelican Books, back cover blurb

External links[edit]

  • Other Places – Listed in "Plays" section of haroldpinter.org. Includes photograph of playbill, production details, and retyped performance review by Alan Jenkins, originally published in TLS entitled "The Withering of Love", reproduced with permission.


Encephalitis lethargica or von Economo disease is an atypical form of encephalitis. Also known as "sleepy sickness" (distinct from tsetse fly-transmitted sleeping sickness), it was first described in 1917 by the neurologist Constantin von Economo[1][2] and the pathologistJean-René Cruchet.[3] The disease attacks the brain, leaving some victims in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless.[4][non-primary source needed][better source needed] Between 1915 and 1926,[5] an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica spread around the world. Nearly five million people were affected, a third of whom died in the acute stages. Many of those who survived never returned to their pre-existing "aliveness". "They would be conscious and aware - yet not fully awake; they would sit motionless and speechless all day in their chairs, totally lacking energy, impetus, initiative, motive, appetite, affect or desire; they registered what went on about them without active attention, and with profound indifference. They neither conveyed nor felt the feeling of life; they were as insubstantial as ghosts, and as passive as zombies." (Awakenings, Oliver Sacks,p 14) No recurrence of the epidemic has since been reported, though isolated cases continue to occur.[6][7]
流行性腦炎甲型腦炎是一種非典型的腦炎,又稱為嗜睡性腦炎(但不是由采采蠅(tsetse fly)傳播的非洲昏睡症)。此病最先由神經學Constantin von Economo於1917年報告。[1][2] 此病影響大腦,令一些病人不能說話,甚至不能移動。[3] 在1915年到1926年間,[4] 該疾病曾經發生全球性的大流行;而之後只有零星個案而沒有再爆發。[5][6]


流行性腦炎的癥狀為發高燒喉嚨痛頭痛重影(Double vision)、動作及思想遲緩、日夜巔倒(sleep inversion), 緊張症(catatonia)和疲勞[3]。一些急症病人可能進入類似昏迷的狀態。病人的眼也可能出現不正常的運動、[7]巴金森症候群(parkinsonism)、上半身無力、肌肉痛、手震、頸部僵硬和行動變異(如思覺失調)。