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March 1964

BeethovenCase Report of a Titan's Last Crisis

Author Affiliations


Medical Director, M. R. Thompson, Inc.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(3):442-448. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280090128021

If there is anything more fascinating than the medical study of history, it would have to be a medical study of the individual geniuses of history. The surest way to gain this end is to rearrange the known facts in the traditional pattern of the medical anamnesis, a method that has been found through centuries of trial and error to shed light in all the dark corners and bring all the more important facts into bolder relief.

Of all the fascinating historical subjects who are available for this type of treatment, none is more so than Ludwig von Beethoven. The mere fact that a musician of such towering genius was, despite his deafness, able to create music which so profoundly affected his art has made him a proper target for otologists and psychiatrists. Indeed, many of these specialists are now convinced that he would never have developed his revolutionary concepts

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