Structured around a personal account of the illness and death of the author's partner, Jane, this book explores how something hard to bear became a threshold to a world of insight and discovery. Drawing on German Idealism and Jane's own research in the area, The Aesthetic Experience of Dying looks at the notion of life as a binary synthesis, or a return enhanced, as a way of coming to understand death. Binary synthesis describes the interplay between dynamically opposing pairs of concepts - such as life and death - resulting in an enhanced version of one of them to move forward in a new cycle of the process. Yet what relevance does this elegant word game have to the shocking diagnosis of serious illness? Struggling to balance reason with sense, thought with feeling, this book examines the experience of caring for someone from diagnosis to death and is illustrated with examples of the return enhanced. The concluding chapter outlines how the tension of Jane's dying has been resolved as the rhythmic patterns of the lifeworld have been understood through the process of reflecting on the experience.
This creative and insightful book will appeal to those interested in the medical humanities. It will also be an important reference for practising and student health professionals.
1. The Return Enhanced 2. Invitation to the Dance 3. Days for Dancing 4. The Last Waltz 5. The Aesthetic Experience of Dying