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May 1977

The Endocrinology of Abuse Dwarfism: With a Note on Charles Dickens as Child Advocate

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics State University of New York Upstate Medical Center 750 E Adams St Syracuse, NY 13210

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(5):505-507. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120180019001

When I first read John Money's remarkable description of abuse dwarfism (see p 508 in this issue) in which the abuse persisted long enough probably to have inhibited the normal onset of puberty, there lingered in my mind connotations of Charles Dickens. At first I thought this was due to Money's use of the King's English in his article; on further reflection it came to me that it was probably due to the dickensian content of the report. It conveys the dark atmosphere of a 19th century novel. There is the night terror quality of Oliver Twist or The Old Curiosity Shop or of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. That the latter two authors would come to mind is not exactly a coincidence, since both experienced abuse and maternal deprivation as children: Dickens being sent away to a workhouse1; Brontë by the death of her mother followed by a harsh

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