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August 1950

Mr. Carlyle, My Patient; A Psychosomatic Biography.

Arch NeurPsych. 1950;64(2):311-312. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1950.02310260149016

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Abstract

This book is a psychosomatic biography of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), of whom it might be said, as it was of Herodicus ("Dialogues of Plato"), "He had a mortal disease which he perpetually tended, and as recovery was out of the question, he passed his entire life as a valetudinarian; he could do nothing but attend upon himself, and was in constant torment, whenever he departed in anything from his usual regimen, and so dying hard, by the help of science, he struggled on to an old age, a rare reward of his skill."

From this book one derives the impression that Carlyle was indeed rarely free of discomfort—that his dyspepsia, chronic constipation, agitation, insomnia and other wretched feelings infrequently left him. Perhaps the picture is drawn as it should be in a psychosomatic biography written in the midtwentieth century, or perhaps this actually was the state of affairs with Carlyle.

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