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Nature volume 127, page 372 (07 March 1931) | Download Citation



IN “Don Juan and other Psychological Studies“, Prof. Lafora, who occupies the chair in psychiatry of the University of Madrid, presents us with a series of most interesting studies of the abnormal. He describes a patient of his own who very closely resembles the personality of Don Juan, and considers that it was quite possible for an individual so hopelessly erotic as Don Juan to have existed. In his chapter on lay and religious miraculous cures, he points out that in Lourdes in 1923 only eighteen out of nearly a million invalids who attended were cured. At the same time, no figures are provided of the many who die or are worn out by the journey. A certain number of the cures relapse, yet we are told nothing of this. In his study of cubism and expressionism he points out, as others have done, the resemblance between this form of art and the drawings of so many of the insane. It is quite impossible to tell from a given picture whether the artist was sane or insane. With this statement of the author's we are heartily in agreement. The book throughout is a most level-headed exposition of the abnormal, and to anyone familiar with the writings and drawings of the insane and mentally unbalanced it will appear by no means as an exaggeration.

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