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During the past two decades, neurological interest in aphasia has been centered on the revival of earlier localisationist theories, principally German or French. The clinically and pathologically exceptional case, with a well-circumscribed area of speech deficit and anatomic damage, is thought to be our best lead into understanding the cerebral organisation of speech. This was the method of Wernicke and Déjerine, recently revived by the able advocacy of Geschwind.
The bias of Dr. Critchley's collection of essays is quite different. He roams discursively over the history of aphasia, the development of speech in the child, the language of gesture and of deaf mutes, and the legal problems of testamentary capacity. Many of these subjects are of great social, clinical, and scientific importance. A broad discussion of them need not conflict with the findings of the micro-anatomists. Those who can fight off the irritations of an intermittent dilettantism will find