(In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of ...)
In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem. After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book. By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This book is a lasting testament to his life.
(On December 8 1995, Elle magazine editor-in-chief Bauby s...)
On December 8 1995, Elle magazine editor-in-chief Bauby suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and left eye. Bauby had Locked-in-Syndrome, a rare condition caused by stroke damage to the brain stem. Eye movements and blinking a code representing letters of the alphabet became his sole means of communication. It is also how he dictated this warm, sad, and extraordinary memoir. Bauby's thoughts on the illness, the hospital, family, friends, career, and life before and after the stroke appear with considerable humor and humanity. Actor Rene Auberjonois's narration adds to the poignancy of the story. Sadly, Bauby died of his condition in 1997.
Before his illness, Bauby worked as an actor and journalist. For a long time, he was also an editor in chief for Elle magazine in Paris.
(In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of ...)1997
(On December 8 1995, Elle magazine editor-in-chief Bauby s...)1997
Bauby is a founder of Locked-in Syndrome Association in France.
On 8 December 1995 at the age of 43, Bauby suffered a massive stroke. When he woke up twenty days later, he found he was entirely speechless; he could only blink his left eyelid. In Bauby's case his mouth, arms, and legs were paralyzed, and he lost 60 pounds (27 kg) in the first 20 weeks after his stroke.
Bauby died on 9 March 1997, in Berck-sur-Mer, Nord-Pas de Calais, France.
Bauby was married to Sylvie de la Rochefoucauld. The marriage, however, ended in a divorce, but the couple had two children, a son named Théophile and a daughter named Céleste.