The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves
The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves
by Siri Hustvedt
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At her father's funeral, Siri Hustvedt delivered a tearless eulogy. Two and a half years later, while giving a talk at St. Olaf College in honor of her father's work in the school's Norwegian Department, she began to shudder violently from the neck down. Of the episode, she writes, "I hadn't felt emotional. I had felt entirely calm and reasonable. Something seemed to have gone terribly wrong with me, but what exactly? I decided to go in search of the shaking woman."
This is the basis for Hustvedt's textbook-like memoir, The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves. A couple of pages after this mission statement, she writes of her migraines as an entirely separate malady: "I had become…[an] enormous headache." Despite the ease with which she becomes the headache, Hustvedt dutifully undertakes the research for the
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