The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly

Jean-Dominque Bauby

‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’ is one of five classic Fourth Estate books to be released as numbered, collectable editions to mark the 25th anniversary. The books will be beautifully produced hardbacks, limited to 2000 copies each, with jackets designed by some of the finest artists at work today.

On 8 December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. When he regained consciousness three weeks later, the only muscle left functioning was in his left eyelid although his mind remained as active and alert as it had ever been. He spent most of 1996 writing this book, letter by letter, blinking as an alphabet was repeatedly read out to him. ‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’ was published in France on Thursday 6th March 1997. It was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. And then, three days later, he died.

‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’, which records Bauby’s lonely existence, is probably the most remarkable book about the triumph of the human spirit, the ability to invent a life for oneself in the most appalling of circumstances, that you will ever read.

It has now been made into a captivating film, directed by Julian Schnabel and starring Mathieu Amalric, which was the winner of the award for Best Director at Cannes and nominated for the Palm d’Or.

Reviews of The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly

    • ‘Everyone in the country should own at least one copy.’ Guardian
    • ‘The most extraordinary book of the year.’ Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Read this book and fall back in love with life.’ Edmund White
    • ‘The most remarkable memoir of our time.’ Cynthia Ozick
    • ‘Life-enhancing and devastating in equal measure – everyone should read it’ Gloss magazine