“As Sickness is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sickness, is solitude": First Edition of Awakenings; Signed by Oliver Sacks
Item Number: 6003
London: Duckworth, 1973.
First edition. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Oliver Sacks on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket.
Hailed by The Washington Post as, "One of the most beautifully composed and moving works of our time." The Awakenings tells the story of sleeping-sickness epidemic of 1918 which caused hundreds of survivors to slip into a paralysis with similarities to advanced Parkinson's disease. These patients, only occasionally able to communicate or move, were nearly all institutionalized for life, their ranks increasing every now and then with similarly afflicted men and women. Sacks came to work at a long-term care facility shortly before the first exciting results with L-dopa and Parkinson's in the late 1960s; his patients soon embarked on dramatic, difficult recoveries from up to 50 years of torpor. He documents their spiritual and medical obstacles with great care to portray their individual personalities, long suppressed but finally released. It was later made into the 1990 film directed by Penny Marshall and was produced by Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker, who first encountered Sacks's book as undergraduates at Yale University and optioned it a few years later. Awakenings stars Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Penelope Ann Miller, and Max Von Sydow.