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August 01, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XLI(5):316-317. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.04480020024011

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One of the Emerson anecdotes that came out during the recent celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the Concord philosopher's birthday, seems to deserve a place in the memory of American medical men, because it is such a striking illustration of aphasia. Emerson, who had been the greatest master of words in his generation, lost the power of speech as the result of a brain lesion, though he retained much of his power to think with the vigor and distinction of earlier days. A contributor to the June Atlantic illustrates his aphasic condition by retelling the story Emerson told of a carriage ride during which it rained. "After a while the—the—the—the—How do you call what stores up water till it is suddenly—suddenly—what shall I say? Not squeezed out?" "A sponge?" his hearer suggested. "No, no," with the sweetest of smiles and a sweeping motion of the hand up to

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