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Letter   |    
Tourette's Syndrome in George Eliot's Silas Marner
Robert E. Kaplan, M.D.
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 1998;10:367a-367.

SIR: George Eliot in her work Silas Marner, published in 1861, precisely describes the clinical features of Tourette's syndrome.1 A very minor character, Mrs. Crackenthorp, is mentioned as follows:

Mrs. Crackenthorp—a small blinking woman, who fidgeted incessantly with her lace, ribbons, and gold chain, turning her head about and making subdued noises, very much like a guinea-pig, that twitches its nose and soliloquises in all company indiscriminately—now blinked and fidgeted towards the Squire, and said, "O no—no offence."…

"Did you ever hear the like?" said Mrs. Kimble…aside to Mrs. Crackenthorp, who blinked and nodded, and seemed to intend a smile, which, by the correlation of forces, went off in small twitchings and noises.

I am unaware of any previous mention of this in the medical literature. I assume that the partial complex seizures of Silas Marner himself have been well recognized by many readers.

Eliot G: Silas Marner (1861). New York, Bantam Books, 1992, pp 98, 99
 
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References

Eliot G: Silas Marner (1861). New York, Bantam Books, 1992, pp 98, 99
 
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