‘The Adventure’: Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz’s Extraordinary Stroke Diary
The famous Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz suffered a stroke at 65 years, which he called ‘the adventure’ or ‘the accident’. He developed language disturbances suggesting crossed aphasia in a right hander with left hemiparesis. This uncommon pattern allowed him to continue to write his diary and to report his disturbances, with a unique depth and precision, especially for cognitive-emotional changes. Language and motor dysfunction recovered within a few weeks, but Ramuz complained of persisting emotional flattening alternating with irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and concentration difficulty, which gave him the feeling to have become another person and to be inhabited by a stranger, whom he compared with devils. Ramuz fought several months to resume his literary activity, having the impression to have lost inspiration and creativity. However, the novels he wrote less than 6 months after stroke show no stylistic changes and have been found to be of the same quality as his previous production. Ramuz even ‘used’ his stroke experience in his work, in particular in a novel depicting an old man who has a stroke and dies of it. Ramuz’s diary, with his own daily description of stroke features and consequences during acute and recovery phases, is a unique document in a writer of his importance, and provides invaluable information on subjective emotional and cognitive experience of stroke.
from European Neurology