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February 6, 1954

A Ray of Darkness

JAMA. 1954;154(6):542. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940400080038

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The ray of darkness is the epilepsy that abruptly entered the life of the author in the middle of her career as an English writer and poet. The story is autobiographical, introspective, and beautifully written. She describes the subjective phases of her seizures with crystal-clear fidelity. Like Job, she searches for an understanding of this calamity, and, when prose fails, she has in reserve her delicately phrased poetry. As an exposition of what epilepsy can mean to a sensitive, honest, and courageous mind, the book is unique. Incidentally, it points out the difficulties that arise from divided medical opinions and ineffective therapy. Lacking a happy ending, the book nevertheless is food for the minds of those who enjoy fine writing or who can profit from reliving with a patient the experience of a devastating illness. Physicians, psychologists, medical social workers, and many of the reading (and thinking) public, including the

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