Sleep, sleepiness, and dreaming are expressed throughout Dante Alighieri's (1265-1321) the Divine Comedy from the start of his journey through the afterlife. In the book, Dante complains that he is "full of sleep," and he experiences sudden wake-dreaming transitions, short and refreshing naps, visions and hallucinations, unconscious behaviors, episodes of muscle weakness, and falls which are always triggered by strong emotions. Taken together these signs are highly reminiscent of narcolepsy, a term coined in 1880 by Gélineau to define a disease consisting of daytime irresistible sleep episodes with remarkable dream mentation, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and cataplexy (falls triggered by strong emotions). Sleep, sleepiness, and episodes of sudden weakness triggered by emotions are Dante's literary fingerprints from his earliest works, pointing to a lifelong autobiographic trait. In the 19th century, Cesare Lombroso speculated that Dante had epilepsy, as he had suffered from frequent spells and hallucinations. However, the multiple emotionally triggered falls Dante experienced in the Divine Comedy contrast with the epileptic seizure he depicted in one of the damned individuals. It is possible that Dante may have intuitively grasped the main features of narcolepsy, but it also is plausible that Dante's sleep, dreams, hallucinations, and falls are clues to a lifelong pathologic trait and that Dante may have known of or had narcolepsy.
Dante's description of narcolepsy / Plazzi, G.. - In: SLEEP MEDICINE. - ISSN 1389-9457. - 14:11(2013), pp. 1221-1223.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Titolo:||Dante's description of narcolepsy|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2013.07.005|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000326625400028|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84886770430|
|Codice identificativo Pubmed:||24021161|
|Citazione:||Dante's description of narcolepsy / Plazzi, G.. - In: SLEEP MEDICINE. - ISSN 1389-9457. - 14:11(2013), pp. 1221-1223.|
|Tipologia||Articolo su rivista|
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