Oliver Sacks was born in England in 1933. Having obtained his medical degree at Oxford University, he moved to the USA. There he worked as a consultant neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital where in 1966, he encountered a group of survivors of the global sleepy sickness of 1916-1927. Sacks treated these patients with the then-experimental drug L-Dopa producing astounding results which he describes in his book "Awakenings".
Further cases of neurological disorders have been described by Sacks with exceptional sympathy in another major book entitled 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat' which became an instant best seller on its publication in 1985. His other books draw on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice.
Sacks's work has been recognized by prestigious institutions which have awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These include the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He is an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.
Remembering Jonathan and Danny Kaye, and perhaps thinking of... of Danny Kaye being stunned by this more-than-Danny Kaye-like presentation or embodiment in Jonathan has made me think of a rare clinical condition in which one not only has a hallucination of a double facing one, but there is a bizarre uncertainty as to which is the real person, and sometimes one seems to look out through the double’s eyes at oneself. But then one is no longer one’s self, the self is embodied in the double. It’s... I don’t know whether I’ve ever had such a situation myself – I think it must occur perhaps occasionally with identical twins, I don’t know.
Kate Edgar, previously Managing Editor at the Summit Books division of Simon and Schuster, began working with Oliver Sacks in 1983. She has served as editor and researcher on all of his books, and has been closely involved with various films and adaptations based on his work. As friend, assistant, and collaborator, she has accompanied Dr Sacks on many adventures around the world, clinical and otherwise.