Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

Selah Saterstrom


Creative writing, Nonfiction, Poetry


The Last Remedy is a memoir that traces the years since the author’s diagnosis with Crohn’s disease at age seventeen. Its essayistic chapters are narrative, lyric, and analytical in turns, reframing the event of illness by weaving together personal experience and creative and critical sources. As a cohesive illness narrative made up of smaller narratives, the book expresses the ongoing revision of self and body involved in the act of being chronically ill.

In representing the experience of living with Crohn’s through critical, personal, and lyrical prose, The Last Remedy expands the possibilities of illness writing beyond the narrative of diagnosis-treatment-cure that is inherent in medicalized approaches to the body. The author’s experience with medical clinics, alternative therapies, and the lifelong search for a remedy illuminates the fact that the body is more than a medical subject. It is a complex set of axes—emotional, physical, intellectual—between which no distinct boundaries can be drawn.

The Last Remedy works on, between, and among these axes in order to represent the complexity of illness and of the body’s relationship to the self. It concludes that chronic illness resists categorization and representation, which makes writing about it a fraught but ultimately necessary act.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dennis James Sweeney Jr.


Received from author

File Format




File Size

224 pgs


Creative writing