Henri Gastaut

An involuntary contribution of Dostoevsky to medical knowledge about epilepsy

translated by: V. Jerotić

pages: 233-237


Dostoevsky’s life goes against the Lombroso’s theory, according to which a genius is »a kind of epileptoide madness«. To the contrary, according to the views of the author, the genius of Dostoevsky stands pure and independent inspite of his epileptic desease and psychosis.

Far from inspiring him in literary creativity, the fits of epilepsy were an obstacle to his creative work. Nontheless, Dostoevsky proved that such an extenuating sickness, as the epilepsy was, did not cause any detriment to his mental functions.

After having finished his novel »The Brothers Karamazov«, two months before his death, he could calmly read to his family the following verse from the Gospel according to St. Matthew: »Let it be so for the present, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness« (3, 15).





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