chapter  13
15 Pages

Disjunction and Relationality in Terminal Illness Writing

WithYianna Liatsos

This chapter focuses on two illness narratives written by a husband and wife on his diagnosis of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM): art critic Tom Lubbock’s Until Further Notice I am Alive (2012) and artist Marion Coutts’ The Iceberg (2014). In considering the temporal horizon and relational textuality of these two memoirs, which recount the experience of the same diagnosis of terminal cancer, this chapter addresses two important philosophical concepts that have substantial bearing on a discussion of illness narrative, those of “transformative experience” and of the “interrelational dimension of selfhood.” While reflecting on how the two texts expand on the philosophical positions of L.A. Paul and Havi Carel, on the one hand, and of Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler on the other, the chapter also analyzes how their literary character invites a kind of community and communication that exceeds the predicaments of an identity-bound sympathetic imagination.