"Leg to stand on" – Oliver Sacks (1984)
Comment and analysis
"Leg to stand on" is a book that was written by the British neurologist Oliver Sacks in 1984.
The book begins with an autobiographical and unespected event: after an accident, the author finds himself on a bed with a problem in body perception, in fact, in his perception, his leg does not belong to him.
This is one of the first testimonies of alienation following peripheral injuries.
This book is different from the rest of Oliver Sacks's literary production. In fact, while the other books are characterized by a sort of emphatical report of several patients’ conditions; this one starts from a neurological cue to carry out a philosophical investigation into self-consciousness and his body (perhaps because of the author's personal involvement is a little less organic than other books), addressing various issues. Among them, there is even a reference to Oliver Sacks' relationship with religion, though not a believer, he senses human meaning (rite, aesthetics, symbolism, and religious aura as well-being elements).
What distinguishes this book is therefore the change of perspective and change of role: Oliver Sacks usually looks at the surrounding world, and this time he himself is observing and transforming himself from a doctor into a patient.