This well-established international series examines major areas of basic and clinical research within neuroscience, as well as emerging and promising subfields. This volume on the neurosciences, neurology, and literature vividly shows how science and the humanities can come together --- and have come together in the past. Its sections provide a new, broad look at these interactions, which have received surprisingly little attention in the past. Experts in the field cover literature as a window to neurological and scientific zeitgeists, theories of brain and mind in literature, famous authors and their suspected neurological disorders, and how neurological disorders and treatments have been described in literature. In addition, a myriad of other topics are covered, including some on famous authors whose important connections to the neurosciences have been overlooked (e.g., Roget, of Thesaurus fame), famous neuroscientists who should also be associated with literature, and some overlooked scientific and medical men who helped others produce great literary works (e,g., Bram Stoker's Dracula). There has not been a volume with this coverage in the past, and the connections it provides should prove fascinating to individuals in science, medicine, history, literature, and various other disciplines.

Key Features

  • This book looks at literature, medicine, and the brain sciences both historically and in the light of the newest scholarly discoveries and insights


Neuroscientists, psychologists, neurologists

Table of Contents

Series Page



Recommended Additional Readings

Part 1: Literature and Neuroscientific Discoveries

Chapter 1. The Overlooked Literary Path to Modern Electrophysiology: Philosophical Dialogues, Novels, and Travel Books


1 Plato’s Torpedo

2 Aphra Behn’s (Soon to be Electric) “Eel”

3 Adanson’s Catfish

4 Conclusions


Chapter 2. Oscar Wilde and the Brain Cell


1 Introduction

2 Scientific Aestheticism

3 The Neuron

4 Cell politics



Chapter 3. Forgetting the Madeleine: Proust and the Neurosciences


1 A Taste of the Madeleine

2 Interdisciplinary Proust

3 Neuroscience Confirms Proust

4 Proust Sells!

5 Neuroaesthetics

6 Conclusion


Chapter 4. Optograms and Criminology: Science, News Reporting, and Fanciful Novels


1 The Murder of Emma Jackson (1863)

2 Franz Boll and Photochemical Bleaching of the Retina (1876–1877)

3 Kühne, Photochemical Transduction, and “Optograms” (1877–1881)

4 Optograms in Fiction After Boll and Kühne

5 Optograms, Journalism, and Murder Investigations from the 1880s to the 1920s

6 The Villisca Ax Murders (1912)

7 The murder of Joseph Bowne Elwell (1920)

8 Conclusion



Part 2: Theories of Brain and Mind in Literature

Chapter 5. Phrenology and Physiognomy in Victorian Literature


1 Phrenology: the Background

2 Thomas Love Peacock (1785–1866) (Fig. 1)

3 Thomas Hood (1799–1845) (Fig. 2)

4 Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) (Fig. 3)

5 Charles Dickens (1812–1870) (Fig. 4)


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About the serial-volume-editors

Anne Stiles

Affiliations and Expertise

St. Louis University, USA

Stanley Finger

Affiliations and Expertise

Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Francois Boller

François Boller, M.D., Ph.D. has been co-Series Editor of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology since 2002. a board-certified neurologist currently Professor of Neurology at the George Washington University Medical School (GW) in Washington, DC. He was born in Switzerland and educated in Italy where he obtained a Medical Degree at the University of Pisa. After specializing in Neurology at the University of Milan, Dr. Boller spent several years at the Boston VA and Boston University Medical School, including a fellowship under the direction of Dr. Norman Geschwind. He obtained a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where he was in charge of Neuroscience teaching at the Medical School and was nominated Teacher of the Year. In 1983, Dr. Boller became Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh where he founded and directed one of the first NIH funded Alzheimer Disease Research Centers in the country. In 1989, he was put in charge of a Paris-based INSERM Unit dedicated to the neuropsychology and neurobiology of cerebral aging. He returned to the United States and joined the NIH in 2005, before coming to GW in July 2014. Dr. Boller’s initial area of interest was aphasia and related disorders; he later became primarily interested in cognitive disorders and dementia with emphasis on the correlates of cognitive disorders with pathology, neurophysiology and imaging. He was one of the first to study the relation between Parkinson and Alzheimer disease, two processes that were thought to be unrelated. His current area of interest is Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders with emphasis on the early and late stages of the disease. He is also interested in the history of Neurosciences and is Past President of the International Society for the History of Neurosciences. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Neurology, the official Journal of the European Federation of Neuro

Affiliations and Expertise

George Washington University Medical School, Washington, DC, USA