Google Books' scan of Edward Spitzka's book, "Insanity", includes this interesting page concerning involuntary constriction of the pupils, disturbances in the flow of words, and how patients distort letterforms when writing insane documents. [Thanks, Joel!]


  1. How funny is this… I watched Blade Runner last night!!! HAH :D

    Look at some of the other pages, I think the book scanner my be a little insane as well…

  2. “…in monomania the paper is covered in underlining marks, queries, exclamation points, dashes, and strange symbols.” So, how many scientists’ notebooks were involved in this assessment, I wonder?

  3. Dr. Spitzka was actually a pretty interesting guy– he was the defense expert in the trial of Charles Guiteau, the (completely loopy) man who shot President Garfield.  Pre-Freudian psychiatry!

  4. I’m writing a book about sleep.  The ability of the pupil to contract and expand has a very important link to your ability to become well rested.  I suspect lithium as a trace element is involved in either pupil dilation or the pathways from the eye to the hypothalmus or SCN.  Need more research on my own part to figure out how Lithium allows for pupil dilation.

  5. Is this the quality we can look forward to for the rest of  Google scans’s of the worlds book archives?

  6. OK, so will the page always look  like that, or if I look away for a few moments, distracted by…something…moving on the floor under the desk, and then look back, will it still be all crooked and strange? I mean, I know it looks this way now, but what about when I’m not looking at it? I’m mean I’m seeing some distorted letterforms, man, and it’s freaking me out a bit and I can’t find my medication ANYWHERE.

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