Representing Autism

BookRepresenting Autism

Representing Autism

Culture, Narrative, Fascination

Representations: Health, Disability, Culture and Society, 1


June 1st, 2008



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From concerns of an ‘autism epidemic’ to the MMR vaccine crisis, autism is a source of peculiar fascination in the contemporary media. Discussion of the condition has been largely framed within medicine, psychiatry and education but there has been no exploration of its power within representative narrative forms. Representing Autism is the first book to tackle this approach, using contemporary fiction and memoir writing, film, photography, drama and documentary together with older texts to set the contemporary fascination with autism in context. Representing Autism analyses and evaluates the place of autism within contemporary culture and at the same time examines the ideas of individual and community produced by people with autism themselves to establish the ideas of autistic presence that emerge from within a space of cognitive exceptionality. Central to the book is a sense of the legitimacy of autistic presence as a way by which we might more fully articulate what it means to be human.

Thought-provoking, deeply empathetic and engaging … I would recommend Murray's book to parents of those on the autism spectrum, educational and clinical practitioners, scientists and academics, film-makers and writers, as well as students and members of the public wanting to know more about autism.
Emma Williams, Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education

This is a timely, powerful and important book.


Author Information

Stuart Murray is Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film in the School of English at the University of Leeds.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Preface: questions13
Conclusion: causing/curing/caring225
Introduction: autism and narrative19
1 Presences: autistic difference45
2 Idiots and savants83
3 Witnessing122
4 Boys and girls, men and women157
5 In our time: families and sentiments186
Select bibliography235