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How Proust can change your life
  1. Harsh Bhatt1,
  2. Tom A T Hughes2
  1. 1 Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2 Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Harsh Bhatt, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK; harsh.bhatt{at}

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Marcel Proust was arguably the greatest 20th-century French novelist. He also had a deep connection with neurological diseases and with neurologists. Through his physician father, he knew Brissaud (Charcot’s pupil), considered treatment by Dejerine and consulted Babinski when his health failed in later years.1 Alain de Botton’s commentary entitled ‘How Proust can change your life’2 therefore made for keen reading among our Book Club, and we recommend it.

At a gentle 215 pages, including pictures and split helpfully into digestible themed chapters, de Botton mixes advice for a content life with humour extracted from Marcel Proust’s life and works to help make our days brighter. He argues, as Proust does, that often to see something in a better light, we simply need a new way of looking at it. The relevance of this to diagnosticians, who need to be good noticers, is clear.3

An early puzzle for us included deciding what disease Proust must have had. We know that …

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  • Contributors HB and TATH are members of the Cardiff Neurology Book Club and present their report here on its behalf both authors contributed to manuscript writing and critical revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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