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Tyranny of the Normal - SAVE 40%!

Tyranny of the Normal - SAVE 40%!

Essays on Bioethics, Theology & Myth

by Leslie Fiedler

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Product Details


ISBN: 978-1-56792-003-1
Pages: 176
Size: 5.81" x 8.8"
Published: September 1996
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This is a bold new collection of essays from Leslie Fiedler, one of America's most brilliant literary and social critics. Wound together by the common thread of bioethics, they encompass such issues as abortion, the removal of life support (or as Fiedler says, "permitting the imperfect to die"), the role that doctors play in our society, the trend back to herbal medicine, and how we confront (or try not to confront) old age and Eros.

Fiedler speaks of bioethics not as a health-care professional, but as a passionate, well-informed amateur. A literary critic, he brings particular breadth to the topic, using it as a window through which to examine the mythology of abnormality in our society. His examples are culled from history, from personal experience, and from those works that have most penetrated our culture, our attitudes, even our collective subconscious: whether acknowledged literary classics (Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the works of Dickens and Shakespeare) or more popular entertainments, such and Ken Kesey's "youth novel" One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest and the enormously successful television shows Marcus Welby, M.D. and E.R.

As in his earlier book, the bestselling Freaks, Fiedler's concern here is with the Other, the individual who does not fit within society's parameters of "normalcy" and so becomes the Outsider — even as that individual uncomfortably challenges many of our cherished assumptions about our capacities for civilization and tolerance. Frequently controversial, at times infuriating, these essays will anger parties on all sides of these debates. But they will also appeal to anyone who appreciates the unorthodox insights of an inquisitive and voracious mind.

Leslie Fiedler
Leslie Fiedler was born in New Jersey and educated at New York University and the University of Wisconsin. He was politically active from a young age; he made speeches on a soapbox on Bergen Street while in high school, joined the Young Communist League in college, and aligned himself with Trotskyism as a graduate student. After World War II, during which he learned and translated Japanese for the Navy, Fiedler received a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where he became involved in the Harvard Poetry Society. He published his first critical work during his time at Harvard. In the following years, Fiedler's work, both critical and creative, appeared in many prominent publications, including The Kenyon Review and Esquire. He also published dozens of books, some notably monumental tomes. His fame allowed him to divorce his wife of thirty-three years in order to marry a woman over twenty years his junior. He received numerous other honors for his influential and impressively prolific work, including a Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, a Hubbell Medal for lifetime contribution to the study of literature, and a National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.