Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics” as Want to Read:
The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In At the Will of the Body, Arthur Frank told the story of his own illnesses, heart attack and cancer. That book ended by describing the existence of a "remission society," whose members all live with some form of illness or disability. The Wounded Storyteller is their collective portrait.

Ill people are more than victims of disease or patients of medicine; they are wounded
Paperback, 231 pages
Published May 15th 1997 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wounded Storyteller, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wounded Storyteller

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 407)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Angeline Larimer
The Wounded Storyteller by Arthur W. Frank gives an intensive analytical and thought provoking perspective of the long time neglected medical resource of the patient narrative. I found his insight fascinating, motivational, and mostly a reassuring validation after unknowingly discovering through this read that I have been a surrogate narrator for my son for over a decade. The experience of speaking for a child who could not tell his own story brought me into this world of painful narration, and ...more
Arthur W. Frank’s The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics is not a craft book for writers. It is a meticulously constructed, yet elegant and impassioned, examination of the centrality of storytelling as a way of deriving and communicating meaning, by and among individuals. Frank, a sociologist as well as a cancer and heart attack survivor and memoirist, concerns himself with the stories people tell when serious illness disrupts a life story, severing the present from a past that was s ...more
When I started reading it, it reminded me a lot of discourse in the 90s, not only by the references, but as well in its way how to analyze and similar also how Frank refers to the body and embodiment. Only near the end he breaks through the body/mind barrier and attests its breakdown in and through illness.

He carefully works on his concept of story telling, which he distinguishes from the breakdown of the meta narratives, but defines as essential source of agency in and for the ill body/mind. Fr
Josephine Ensign
This book gets better on re-reading. Parts are dense and academic, but most of it is accessible. Provocative is mostly how I would describe it. My 'working copy' of the book is now dog-eared and green sticky-tagged throughout. His later chapters on the quest narrative and on testimony stand out as particularly well-written.
I read this book because it's cited by everyone who studies health and narrative. It was a good read though it took me a while to get through. The chapter on the Quest Narrative was probably my favorite since it's most relevant to the work I'm doing. If you're interested in medical memoirs, it's a must-read.
I use this as a text in a class I teach for a BSN nursing program and it works quite well.
Useful categories for thinking through and creating narratives of illness.
Bev Wall
I picked this book up hoping it would assist me in writing my own memoir, but it didn't. Instead it was almost like reading a scientific study into the writing voices of people who are ill. While it might be interesting to study those behaviors, that kind of reading is not really my cup of tea. That being said, the Preface rocked and I thought, this book is going to be great. Not! I loved this one sentence that the author wrote - it really resonated with me: "The Wounded Storyteller is a surviva ...more
If you ignore the embarrassing cover and try not to pay too much attention to the gushy North-American style that Frank uses, this is an interesting and potentially empowering read. In quite a Nietzschean manner, he explores how sufferers can appropriate their illness and re-tell it in the form of a "story" (very 90s). Telling your story to someone else forces you to give it some sort of shape; you have to acknowledge your illness and present your thoughts about it to someone else. This allows y ...more
Frank hacks into the grimy, unspeakable corners of personal experience in the face of horrendous natural evil. This is an in-depth exploration of different "narratives" that are drawn on by people who experience illness.

I tied this book into an exploration of the phenomenological experience of illness, bioethical conceptualizations of suffering, and read it along with Mike Nichols' 2001 film "Wit" (starring Emma Thompson). The film and the book complement each other wonderfully. I'm not sure wh
John Capecci
Regardless of when this was written and the theoretical frames of post-colonialism or postmodernism it explores, this book underscores an enduring truth: people who have experienced illness or disease (or trauma or adversity of any form) frequently are urged to speak their stories either for healing, renewed sense of self or--what I find most interesting--as a form of advocacy and agent of change. Frank's definition of "the communicative body" and characterization of the wounded storyteller as " ...more
Dottie Bossman
This book is a fascinating examination of a genre.. it also happens to be inspirational, since the author is himself one of the wounded storytellers.
Andrew Griffith
I enjoyed his earlier book recounting his experience with cancer, At the Will of the Body. The Wounded Storyteller is heavier, with some interesting themes of dichotomies (he uses Control, Body-Relatedness, Other-Relationships, and Desire as his frame), as well as reinforcing the importance of storytelling for the ill person to assert their identity as they go through the healthcare system, whether through restitution (getting better), chaotic (chronic) or the quest (transformation) form of stor ...more
Glenn Martinez
Proposes that wounded bodies are also wounded in voice. Illness narratives are therapeutic in that they allow the "body-self" to articulate and make sense of the interruptions caused by illness.
Not a book you can just pick up and breeze through, but extremely insightful and highly recommended.
Beth 'Misselthwaite'
Beth 'Misselthwaite' marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2015
Kerry marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2015
Edna Quammie
Edna Quammie marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2015
Patrick marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2015
Jessica marked it as to-read
Nov 04, 2015
UrsusPolaris marked it as to-read
Oct 29, 2015
Emily added it
Nov 03, 2015
molly marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2015
Ziying Teng
Ziying Teng marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2015
A is currently reading it
Oct 13, 2015
Deanne is currently reading it
Oct 01, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness
  • The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, And The Human Condition
  • Intoxicated by My Illness
  • The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self
  • On Being Ill
  • The Cancer Journals
  • Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect
  • Illness as Metaphor
  • Maps of Narrative Practice
  • Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference (Expanded)
  • Hippocrates' Shadow: What Doctors Don't Know, Don't Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach
  • Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled
  • The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception
  • The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry
  • Letters to a Young Doctor
  • Contented Dementia
  • Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality (Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the Twenty-first Century) (Biopolitics Series)
  • The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction

Share This Book