The Autists: women on the spectrum by Clara Tornwall

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An incisive and deeply candid account that explores autistic women in culture, myth, and society through the prism of the author's own diagnosis.

Until the 1980s, autism was regarded as a condition found mostly in boys. Even in our time, autistic girls and women have largely remained invisible. When portrayed in popular culture, women on the spectrum often appear simply as copies of their male counterparts - talented and socially awkward.

Yet autistic women exist, and always have. They are varied in their interests and in their experiences. Autism may be relatively new as a term and a diagnosis, but not as a way of being and functioning in the world. It has always been part of the human condition. So who are these women, and what does it mean to see the world through their eyes?

In The Autists, Clara Tornvall reclaims the language to describe autism and explores the autistic experience in arts and culture throughout history. From popular culture, films, and photography to literature, opera, and ballet, she dares to ask what it might mean to re-read these works through an autistic lens - what we might discover if we allow perspectives beyond the neurotypical to take centre stage.

'Personal, entertaining, educational.'-M Magasin

'She writes with clarity, the style is characterised with rigour and clear pedagogics, making it easy for the reader to learn a subject that for many has only had a stereotypical 'Rain Man'-connotations.'-Svenska Dagbladet

'Even if you ought to avoid hyping the autistic as superheroes, Tornvall shows that conformity to the norm is a ludicrous waste of the power in these beautiful brains.'-Dagens Nyheter