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Science Week: Andrew Levy and His Migraines

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – Welcome to Science Week on StudioTulsa, a series of five great conversations from our archives, each of them concerning various matters scientific. On this edition of our show, host Rich Fisher chats with the author and scholar Andrew Levy, a professor of English and writing at Butler University in Indianapolis. Levy is the author of "A Brain Wider than the Sky: A Migraine Diary." It's a fascinating look at the medical and scientific phenomenon --- as well as the personal and universal experience --- that is the migraine headache, as well as a well-versed and engaging study of the migraine's place within our cultural history. Levy himself has suffered acute, very painful migraines in the past --- some have left him bedridden for months --- and his book, therefore, is also both a memoir and an eloquent "how-to guide" (so to speak) on ways in which people can deal with this sort of pain. Throughout the volume, we learn a great deal about various creative types who have lived with, and sometimes even thrived upon (in an artistic sense), such intense headaches, among them Nietzsche, Freud, Virginia Woolf, Mahler, Van Gogh, and even Elvis . . . along with Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco.