Monday, March 24, 2014

Author Bio: Jean-Dominique Bauby

Are you ready for a fascinating story? Good, because I've got one.

This is Jean-Dominique Bauby. He was born in 1952 and was a well-respected French journalist and author, and was editor of the French ELLE magazine for a time.

In 1995, Bauby suffered a stroke and was out for twenty days. When he woke up, he discovered that he had locked-in syndrome, which is a condition where one's mind is completely left unharmed, but almost all of the body is completely paralyzed.

A dictation machine was brought in for Bauby, and he was able to write The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (in the original French, Le Scaphandre et le papillon), his memoir, using it. The machine worked by cycling through the alphabet in order of frequency of use in the French language, and when it got to the letter Bauby wanted to put next, he would blink, and it would record that letter. The memoir was published in March 1997, and it was translated to film in 2007.

You've probably guessed by now that we'll be reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly this week! Look forward to that on Friday.

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