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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1995 Dec 10;115(30):3768-72.

[The Pickwick syndrome. From literary speculations to sleep research].

[Article in Norwegian]


The "wonderfully fat boy" Joe described in The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens, is remarkable for his glorious appetite and many attacks of sleep during the day. His medical condition was introduced as the Pickwick syndrome by Burwell et al. in 1956. For some 20 years this was an important stimulus for sleep research. Some literary and historical aspects of The Pickwick Papers are presented. The many diagnoses given to poor Joe are discussed. This diagnostic survey may still be of interest, even if the syndrome has virtually disappeared from medical literature. How does the Pickwick syndrome, as doctors today see it, fit Dickens' original description? Did Joe really suffer from the Pickwick syndrome?

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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