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Charles Dickens - Epilepsy


Updated July 31, 2012



Charles Dickens:

Charles Dickens was born Charles John Huffam Dickens on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England and died on June 9, 1870 in Kent, England after suffering a stroke. He was a prolific author who penned such novels as A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist.

Dickens suffered from epilepsy as a child, though he eventually outgrew it. He chronicled it through various characters in his books. These characters include Bradley Headstone (Our Mutual Friend) and Edward Leeford, a.k.a. Monks, (Oliver Twist) among others. Of particular interest is the maidservant, Guster in Bleak House. Guster is described as having the falling sickness with "fits" of unusual duration, and is worried that she may lose her job and end up in the workhouse if anyone should find out; a sentiment of the disabled that is as valid today as it was then.

Other famous authors who also were reported to have epilepsy include Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll and Agatha Christie.

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