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My books to date


Finishing up the hallucinations book
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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So now, The Mind’s Eye being out, I’m left with the subject of hallucinations, mostly visual hallucinations, but there are hallucinations of smell, of hearing, of touch, of taste, any sort of hallucination, hallucinations of being out-of-body, hallucinations of being in heaven, hallucinations of seeing God. They’re all okay with me, although I am excluding psychotic hallucinations, schizophrenic hallucinations, because this in itself is such a vast subject that it needs to be part of a book, in a book on schizophrenia which, sooner or later, I may write, I don’t know.

But now, not in a steady way, alas, I am not a steady writer. I have sudden bursts and block. I proceed in jerks, but the jerks add up and now I’ve jerked out most of the 15 chapters of a book on hallucinations. It’s going to... it’s going to have to be smoothed over, it’s a bit rough at the moment, but I would like to see it. And... a morbid anticipation of death and of something or hopeless decline and deterioration has, if anything, increased with age although, on the one hand, although it’s been somewhat diminished by seeing my good analyst for... for many years. But each time I write something, it’s a stake in life and I... I want to see it and say, ‘Here, I’m still here. I don’t know whether I’ll be here tomorrow, but I’m here now’. I wish Ralph could’ve seen his book.

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: The Mind's Eye, Ralph Siegel

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012