dorothy figUEirA In 2004, Matei Calinescu wrote Portretul lui M, translated five years later as Matthew's Enigma, a poignant meditation on his relationship with his autistic son who died of an epileptic seizure in 2003 at 26 years of age. This small volume is noteworthy for several reasons: as a testament to a father's love for his son, as a public service acquainting the general public regarding the problems of raising a child with autism, as an inquiry into the nature of the disease, and, finally, as an investigation of the interrelation between autism and topic pertinent to the author's profession, reading. With this memoir, the author also claims to draw a portrait of his son Matthew in order to understand him and others like him better. In the process, Calinescu seeks to understand himself in relationship to Matthew (2009, 197). Such a project points to the ethical concern of the volume--to understand oneself through an understanding of the other. Or, as Calinescu puts it, understanding is a form of reading and one reads to understand the self. One seeks to understand oneself through the other even when the other sometimes bears only an apparent, perhaps misleading and
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Oct 23, 2009
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