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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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The Diving Bell
Diving bell
A diving bell is a rigid chamber used to transport divers to depth in the ocean. The most common types are the wet bell and the closed bell....

 and the Butterfly
is a translation of the French memoir
Memoir
A memoir , is a literary genre, forming a subclass of autobiography – although the terms 'memoir' and 'autobiography' are almost interchangeable. Memoir is autobiographical writing, but not all autobiographical writing follows the criteria for memoir set out below...

 Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Jean-Dominique Bauby was a well-known French journalist, author and editor of the French fashion magazine ELLE.On 8 December 1995 at the age of 43, Bauby suffered a massive stroke. When he woke up twenty days later, he found he was entirely speechless; he could only blink his left eyelid...

. It describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 that left him with a condition called locked-in syndrome
Locked-In syndrome
Locked-in syndrome is a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes. Total locked-in syndrome is a version of locked-in syndrome where the eyes are paralyzed as...

. It also details what his life was like before the stroke.

On December 8, 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of Elle
Elle (magazine)
Elle is a worldwide magazine of French origin that focuses on women's fashion, beauty, health, and entertainment. Elle is also the world's largest fashion magazine. It was founded by Pierre Lazareff and his wife Hélène Gordon in 1945. The title, in French, means "she".-History:Elle was founded in...

magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma
Coma
In medicine, a coma is a state of unconsciousness, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as...

. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and eyes (one of which had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem). The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months (four hours a day). Using partner assisted scanning
Partner assisted scanning
Partner assisted scanning or listener assisted scanning is an augmentative and alternative communication technique used to enable a person with severe speech impairments to communicate. The approach is used with individuals who, due to sickness or disability, have severe motor impairments and good...

, a transcriber repeatedly recited a French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 frequency-ordered alphabet
Letter frequencies
The frequency of letters in text has often been studied for use in cryptography, and frequency analysis in particular. No exact letter frequency distribution underlies a given language, since all writers write slightly differently. Linotype machines sorted the letters' frequencies as etaoin shrdlu...

 (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and an average word took approximately two minutes. 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 whilst in hospital at Berck-sur-Mer.

The French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 edition of the book was published on March 6, 1997. It received excellent reviews, sold the first 25,000 copies on the day of publication, reaching 150,000 in a week. It went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe. Its total sales are now in the millions. On 9 March 1997, three days after the book was published, Bauby died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

.

Film adaptations



In 2007 the book was adapted into a feature film of the same name
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (film)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a 2007 biographical drama film based on Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoir of the same name. The film depicts Bauby's life after suffering a massive stroke, on December 8, 1995, at the age of 42, which left him with a condition known as locked-in syndrome. The...

, directed by Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel is an American artist and filmmaker. In the 1980s, Schnabel received international media attention for his "plate paintings"—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates....

, written by Ronald Harwood
Ronald Harwood
Sir Ronald Harwood CBE is an author, playwright and screenwriter. He is most noted for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for The Dresser and The Pianist, for which he won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay...

 and starring Mathieu Amalric
Mathieu Amalric
Mathieu Amalric is a French actor and film director, perhaps best known internationally for his performance as the lead villain in Bond film Quantum Of Solace and for his role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, for which he drew critical acclaim...

 as Bauby. Julian Schnabel won best director that year at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2008 for directing, cinematography, editing and writing. It would go on to win numerous international awards, including a BAFTA for adapted screenplay, and Golden Globes for best foreign language film and best director.

While Bauby was still alive, French director Jean-Jacques Beineix
Jean-Jacques Beineix
-Biography:In 1964, Jean-Jacques Beineix started his career as Jean Becker's assistant director on the famous French TV series, Les saintes chéries until the end of 1967. Then, in 1970 he worked for Claude Berri and in 1971 for Claude Zidi. In 1977, he directed his first short movie Le Chien de M....

made a 25-minute film, "Assigné à résidence" (or "House Arrest"), that captured Bauby in his paralysed state, and the process of the book's composition.

External links


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