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October 22, 1949

A tuberculose na vida e na obra de Dostoïevsky

JAMA. 1949;141(8):568. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02910080068032

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A short monograph in Portugese by Homero Silveira deals with the subject of the cause of death of the great Russian writer Fédor Mikhailovitch Dostoievsky. Silveira stresses the fact that of the numerous biographers of Dostoievsky none was concerned with the cause of his death. That, in the. reviewer's opinion, was probably due to the fact that his biographers were preoccupied with Dostoievsky's "sacred illness" which played so important a role in his life and in his literary creations. His familiarity with symptoms of tuberculosis is hardly a valid argument that he himself had been a victim of the disease. He has indeed portrayed many morbid states with remarkable skill and fidelity, in particular that of epilepsy. Dostoievsky died in 1883 in the course of a short illness (two days) punctuated by massive pulmonary hemorrhages. Silveira adduces the following facts to support his thesis that Dostoievsky died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

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