A Marvellous Misfortune Publication date : March 1, 1999
In Un Merveilleux Malheur, the author discusses and develops the notion of human resilience, that capacity that enables human beings to overcome extreme psychic trauma, such as violence, rape, torture, war, and deportation, or to triumph over the most desperate of situations (he cites the example of those young children in Latin America and Asia who live in the streets and garbage dumps, and yet, almost miraculously, succeed in learning to read and write.)The author has drawn on a large number of cases, including some well-known studies and many others carried out at his instigation in France and elsewhere. In addition, he has used his own direct experience as a practising neuropsychiatrist to show how children, as well as adults, construct themselves in the face of adversity by developing an "inner story". Gradually, almost imperceptibly, Un Merveilleux Malheur leads us to adopt a new vision of others. Perhaps it will also make us listen to them, above the noise and tumult of socially acceptable discourse.Boris Cyrulnik, a neuropsychiatrist, is regarded as the father of human ethology. He is the author of Les Nourritures Affectives and LEnsorcellement du Monde.