- flaubert, gustave
- (1821-1880)A French writer who from 1844 onwards experienced * photisms and *visual hallucinations in the context of recurring epileptic seizures. Although his first generalized seizure occurred in 1844, it has been speculated that Flaubert may have suffered from epilepsy at a much earlier age. As a child he would seem to have experienced * aural phenomena such as absences and hallucinations. During the year following his first epileptic seizure he had daily recurring visual hallucinations in the form of flames, Bengalese lights, and fireworks. These were characterized by bright, exploding colours. In addition, he experienced * macropsia with * zoom vision. The seizures may have come to a halt between 1852 and 1857. It is known that Flaubert also suffered from syphilis, but in view of the early onset of his seizures, a causal relation is unlikely. Other diagnoses suggested in the literature include migraine and hysteria.ReferencesArnold, L.M., Baumann, C.R., Siegel, A.M. (2007). Gustav Flaubert's "nervous disease": An autobiographic and epileptological approach. Epilepsy and Behavior, 11, 212-217.Lapp, J.C. (1956). Art and hallucination in Flaubert. French Studies, 10, 322-334.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.