Margiad Evans (1909-1958): A writer's epileptic experiences and their reflections in her work

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Margiad Evans, in the period 1930-1950, an acclaimed English writer, developed convulsive seizures at age 41 and died at age 50 from the tumor that had caused them. In her book "A Ray of Darkness", she describes in profound analytic detail her seizure experiences, especially the isolated auras that had preceded her first convulsion by many years. Their ultimate strangeness echoed a long-standing fascination by the indescribable, which is a recurrent theme in her literary work. Another aspect of her poetry, a focus on the experience of the moment that cannot be retained is likewise reminiscent of the volatility of her aura experiences. Of three texts that are presently being published posthumously, one ("The Nightingale Silenced") is a fragmentary continuation of her epileptic experience. She considered that she still had a lot to describe, contributing the inside of the "outside inside story" of epilepsy, clues on which neurology could work to obtain a deeper understanding. To have a focal motor seizure feels like being invaded by an alien force. An urge to run and heautoscopy are other recorded symptoms. Evans documents the experience of a long-lasting, predominantly nonconvulsive status epilepticus merging into aura continua where her earlier aura experiences appear transformed into a quasipsychotic state. But even in the account of "this appalling, this hellish condition", she is careful to maintain her high literary standards. Together, the two reports on her disease seem to represent the only comprehensive inside case history of epilepsy, a most valuable legacy.

Sider (fra-til)106677
TidsskriftEpilepsy and Behavior
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2020

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