Polio and Its Aftermath: The Paralysis of Culture

Capa
Harvard University Press, 2005 - 324 páginas

It was not long ago that scientists proclaimed victory over polio, the dread disease of the 1950s. More recently polio resurfaced, not conquered at all, spreading across the countries of Africa. As we once again face the specter of this disease, along with other killers like AIDS and SARS, this powerful book reminds us of the personal cost, the cultural implications, and the historical significance of one of modern humanity's deadliest biological enemies. In Polio and Its Aftermath Marc Shell, himself a victim of polio, offers an inspired analysis of the disease. Part memoir, part cultural criticism and history, part meditation on the meaning of disease, Shell's work combines the understanding of a medical researcher with the sensitivity of a literary critic. He deftly draws a detailed yet broad picture of the lived experience of a crippling disease as it makes it way into every facet of human existence.

Polio and Its Aftermath conveys the widespread panic that struck as the disease swept the world in the mid-fifties. It captures an atmosphere in which polio vied with the Cold War as the greatest cause of unrest in North America--and in which a strange and often debilitating uncertainty was one of the disease's salient but least treatable symptoms. Polio particularly afflicted the young, and Shell explores what this meant to families and communities. And he reveals why, in spite of the worldwide relief that greeted Jonas Salk's vaccine as a miracle of modern science, we have much more to fear from polio now than we know.

 

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Índice

Prologue
1
One Polio Story
27
In the Family
57
A Polio School
92
Paralytic Polio and Moving Pictures
129
HandiCapitalism and Cinema Business
139
The Cast of Rear Window or Cinema and Akinesia
150
Polio and the Great Wars
181
Aftermath
227
Notes
231
Acknowledgments
297
Text Credits
299
Illustration Credits
303
List of Boxes
307
Name Index
309
Subject Index
313

Remembering Roosevelt
190
What We Can Learn If We Hurry
204

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Acerca do autor (2005)

Marc Shell is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English at Harvard University.

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