September 24, 2023

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Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir available in Persian

TEHRAN-A Persian translation of the book “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” has been released in Iran under the title “Buried Alive”.

The book is a memoir by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, which describes his life before and after a massive stroke left him with locked-in syndrome.

Translated by Houshang Sa’adat, Farzan Rooz Publication has published the book, ILNA reported.

The French edition of the book was published in 1997 and became a bestseller across Europe.

On December 8, 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings, but physically paralyzed with what is known as locked-in syndrome, with the only exception of some movement in his head and eyes. Further, his right eye had to be sewn up because of irritation. Bauby wrote the entire book by blinking his left eyelid, which took him two months working 3 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Using partner-assisted scanning, a transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet, until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took Bauby about 200,000 blinks to write at an average of approximately two minutes per word. The book also chronicles everyday events for a person with locked-in syndrome. These events include playing at the beach with his family, getting a bath, and meeting visitors while in hospital at Berck-sur-Mer. On March 9, 1997, two days after the book was published, Bauby died of pneumonia.

Locked-in syndrome, also known as pseudocoma, is a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for vertical eye movements and blinking. The individual is conscious and sufficiently intact to be able to communicate with eye movements.

The book’s title refers to the immobility of his body by comparing it to old-fashioned heavy diving headgear, inside which he describes his mind fluttering as delicately as a butterfly.


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