We wish to acknowledge our deep and fortifying gratitude to our community of collegues in bioethics and in literary studies who have discovered, developed, and animated this youthful and hardy field of narrative ethics. In conferences, writing projects, teaching efforts, and research studies over the years, our colleagues have allowed us to trust in our early leanings toward a narrative practice of bioethics. We wish to acknowledge particularly the Society for Health and Human Values—now recently a part of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities—as the incubator for much of this transdisciplinary thinking. Recent ASBH presidents Laurie Zoloth and Kathryn Montgomery have continued the fertile crossings between philosophy and literary studies that make our work possible.
This book project was initiated when Professor Stuart Spicker approached us to edit a special issue of Healthcare Ethics Committee Forum on narrative ethics, and we want to thank him for the idea. A parent of this book, the HEC Forum special issue helped to mobilize interest and commitment from many of our authors.
We’d like to recognize our own small band of literary collaborators who have been meeting and talking since the early 1980s as the Kaiser Narrative-in-Medicine Circle—Joanne Trautmann Banks, Julia E. Connelly, Anne Hunsaker Hawkins, Kathryn Montgomery, Anne Hudson Jones, and Suzanne Poirier—for decades of inspiration, challenge, education, and support.
Of course, we thank especially the twenty-two authors of this book’s chapters for their knowledge, courage, vision, and eloquence. Our task as editors was merely a convening one; the authors poured forth their own convictions, cautions, and dreams. We are convinced that the world of bioethics will change by virtue of their work, and we feel humble in the face of what they have accomplished at our invitation.
The practical aspects of this book could not have been accomplished without the early passionate support of Hilde Lindemann Nelson and the efforts of Routledge editors Heidi Freund and Ilene Kalish. Assistant Editor Kimberly Guinta has been tremendously helpful and supportive along the way. We extend deep thanks to Benjamin Dov Frede for his meticulous editorial researching to confirm the accuracy of endnotes and textual citations—Dov’s commitment to this book and his joy in working on it became a stabilizing and nourishing foundation for our own ongoing devotion to the work.