Med.Inter.Rev. 2015, 105, 190-197.

What was the cause of Gertrude Lodge’s hand paralysis? Thomas Hardy and other 19th century authors: literature, medicine and disabilities.


Section of Rehabilitation Medicine, Reuth Medical Center, Tel Aviv, & Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, ISRAEL

The Withered Arm is a story by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), who was a famous and important British architect – poet-novelist and a social reformer. The Withered Arm is “ a Gothic ghost story”, and Hardy claimed that it was based on a real story. The story illustrates the two trends during Victorian England: the old superstitious beliefs, dreams and visions, versus the modern scientific-based science and medicine, and the remarkable victory of the psyche over the soma. Discussion on the differential diagnosis of that hand paralysis, is given along with disabilities which appear in books of other Victorians and 19th century authors.

Keywords: history of medicine, hand paralyses, disability, Victorian literature

Oryginal language: English

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