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Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness Paperback – January 29, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0195340228 ISBN-10: 0200000004 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0200000004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340228
  • ASIN: 0195340221
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Narrative Medicine is practical enough to be benefiical to the clinician, yet sufficiently theoretical to serve as a seminal text in the field. Even master clinicians can gain from the knowledge and skills presented here. Charon has written an inspired and inspiring book; and, in her stories of patients and studetns, she is a role model for us all."--Perspectives


"This is a great book...Well done."--Doody's, a 5 star review


"Rita Charon addresses such issues in her most-welcome book, Narrative Medicine: Honoring Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness, a "primer," as she calls it, for the emergent field of "narrative medicine" that she has helped define. The book combines theory-drawn from literary studies, philosophy, anthropology, psychotherapy- and rich narratives from her own patients' and students' lives. It is a compelling mix, backed by the unusual authority of a physician who is also a literary scholar."--Perspectives


"A compelling mix, backed by the unusual authority of a physician who is also a literary scholar."--Lancet


About the Author

Rita Charon is at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Fellowman from Global-Village on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first sentence of Dr. Rita Charon's book, at the start of the preface, begins as follows: "I invite readers to look with my colleagues and me at this form of clinical practice we have come to call narrative medicine, defined as medicine practiced with the narrative competence to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness."

In addition to being a physician, the author holds a PhD degree in English.

Dr. Charon points out that medicine becomes transformed when it is practiced with a real respect for time and timeliness, that patients lament when their uniqueness is not valued, that a clinician should not stop with the obvious or evident story line but should keep looking, in a creative way, to construct a wide and deep diagnosis, open to various possibilities, and that medicine is "based on complex texts which are shaped between doctor and patient, texts that encompass words, silences, physical findings, pictures, measurements of substances in the body, and appearances."

Further quoting Dr. Charon, "Medicine is itself a more narratively inflected enterprise than it realizes. Its practice is suffused with attention to life's temporal horizons, with the commitment to describe the singular, with the urge to uncover plot...., and with an awareness of the intersubjective and ethical nature of healing."

These aspects of temporality, singularity, causality/contingency, intersubjectivity (two people relating to each other) and ethical concern are the hallmarks of storytelling or narrative. The use of the term "intersubjectivity" emphasizes that "it is in meeting with other selves that the self comes alive."

To help the reader develop competence in handling narrative, the practical centerpiece of the book is Dr.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff D. on November 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because I'm interested in using stories to change the way that people with chronic illness look at themselves and their situation based on story. I had also seen a very inspiring TED talk by Rita a few months ago.

While the content in this book is brilliant, however I found it difficult to read. The author uses a lot of language that I'm just not familiar with, so I stopped reading it after a few dozen pages. That said, if you're a medical practitioner, you'll probably love it.
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By Axel Lupton on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first chapters I thought that this was a very theoretical book which only upheld the dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative thought. But then she started describing how narrative medicine can be done in practice, and it was very inspiring. Will try this when I start my internship in 2 weeks.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Duy Q. Vu on May 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A nice attempt to humanize a discipline that becomes superspecialized and procedural oriented and is controlled by economists and bureaucrats.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mullivan84 on March 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is more of a textbook for Narrative Medicine or for someone interested in getting to more about the basis of the field from an academic perspective. Very enjoyable read and inspiring for those of us interested in the subject!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CarlaQ on November 22, 2013
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First rate! The stories illustrate the power of personal experience to teach health care providers about the importance of seeing the whole person, and to help each of us understand the impact of illness on our very beings.
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