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Darwin's Illness$
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Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

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Two Psychosomatic Theories

Two Psychosomatic Theories

(p.156) 24 Two Psychosomatic Theories
Darwin's Illness

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

University Press of Florida

In 1974, two English doctors—Sir Hedley Atkins and Professor George Pickering—published books containing chapters on the symptoms and causations of Charles Darwin's illness, stating that Darwin had a psychosomatic illness caused by his evolutionary theory. Sir Hedley depicted Darwin's interaction with his theory. On the other hand, Professor Pickering postulated that “the cause of Darwin's psychoneurosis was the conflict between his passionate desire to collect convincing evidence for his hypothesis and the threat imposed on his work by social intercourse”. It is believed that Darwin's mental conflicts and the controversial nature of the subject he was working on could have resulted in his becoming ill without Chagas', but such an illness may have been less severe than the illness he had.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Sir Hedley Atkins, Professor George Pickering, psychosomatic illness, evolutionary theory, psychoneurosis

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