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Jerome Bruner, the 'Cognitive Revolution' and behaviourism


I miss my dear friend, Thom Gunn
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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I... I miss him very much. I... I have many, many files of letters to and from him. I wrote about him briefly in the Threepenny Review; perhaps one day I’ll write at more length, I don’t know. But, although Thom was never a formal mentor in any way, I think his sharp criticisms of some of my writings, or some sorts of writing, and his liking other sorts, and the example of his own writing and his absolute dedication. He would never let a sloppy line get in. Things had to be right. Of course they do have to be absolutely right in poetry. One has more latitude in... in my sort of writing, but... but not all that latitude.

Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was born in England. 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 described in his book Awakenings. Further cases of neurological disorders were 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 drew on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice. Sacks's work was recognized by prestigious institutions which awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These included the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He was an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and held honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.

Listeners: Kate Edgar

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.

Tags: Threepenny Review, Thom Gunn

Duration: 53 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012