The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1345 Saturday, 18 May 2002
Date: Thursday, 16 May 2002 06:09:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Lear Diagnosed
Literary Psychiatric Observation and Diagnosis Through the Ages: King
from Southern Medical Journal
Alexander M. Truskinovsky, MD
Shakespeare's plays, and in particular King Lear, have been a favorite
source of clinical observation and diagnosis for psychiatrists for the
past two centuries. Most authors agree that the description of Lear's
mental symptoms is remarkably consistent and close to life. This article
summarizes previous attempts to diagnose the mental illness of King
Lear, featuring, among others, such entities as mania, senile dementia,
delirium, depression, and brief reactive psychosis, and offers a new
diagnosis according to the modern diagnostic criteria, namely, bipolar I
disorder, most recent episode manic, severe with psychotic features.
If anyone really wants the article and can't, for some reason, access
the site, write me off-list and I'll
send it to you.
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