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Bergler, E. (1953). Writers and Ulcus. Am. Imago, 10(1):87-92.

(1953). American Imago, 10(1):87-92

Writers and Ulcus

Edmund Bergler, M.D.

In a letter addressed to me, our distinguished colleague, Dr. Angel Garma, analytic pioneer in Argentina, requested an answer to the following question: what is known about the incidence of ulcus of the stomach or duodenum in writers? Giving me credit for clinical experience with writers, he wanted to know both the clinical and historical aspects, and if possible examples pertaining to writers of the past.

I had to admit that I had never considered this aspect of writers. I tried to remember a few well known writers suffering from the disease, but the result of my thinking was purely negative: Napoleon and a once famous French writer with a peculiar work tempo—every six to eight years this man published a novelette of about 80 pages, the last one 12 years ago. Recently, I heard that the man had been operated on for duodenal ulcer.

I discarded the example of Napoleon whom one could not exactly call a writer, although he did write in his early twenties a series of gruesome stories.) Then, a long series of advertising people, copywriters, journalists, and inhibited writers came to mind—all ulcus victims.

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