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Adventures in Human Being

Article text
We have a lifetime's association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. In Adventures in Human Being, Gavin Francis leads the reader on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot.
Drawing on his own experiences as a doctor and GP, he blends first-hand case studies with reflections on the way the body has been imagined and portrayed over the millennia. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: Francis leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human.
Both a user's guide to the body and a celebration of its elegance, this book will transform the way you think about being alive, whether in sickness or in health.

Published by Profile Books in association with Wellcome Collection (May, 2015)

In his essay entitled Breast: Two Views on Healing, Francis explores connections between his own practice and ideas that inspired ‘Frissure’ – a creative collaboration between writer, Kathleen Jamie and myself, artist, Brigid Collins, during Jamie’s recovery from treatment for breast cancer – published in book form by Polygon (2013) and as an exhibition at The Scottish Poetry Library (2013).

Extract from Breast: Two Views on Healing
(Adventures in Human Being, pgs. 92-99)

“The second tradition they drew on was older, with its origins on the classical perspectives on health, and imagined the body as a mirror of the cosmos. If the body is a landscape, and illness a disturbance in the greater harmony of which we are but a small part, then the world around us holds clues as to restoring inner balance. (pg. 97) …’Frissure’ offered a lesson to take back into my medical practice – that healing involves restitution not just of our inner worlds, but an engagement with the environment that sustains us.” (pg. 99)