Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Cognitive disorders in the canon.

The Last of the True French Short Bastards

It suddenly occurred to me that O'Brian's books include a great many more cognitive disorders, or sometimes simple character peculiarities, than most other historical novels... or indeed any novels. We have:

- Stephen's addictions to laudanum and coca leaves (and his evident depression)

- The Teapot

- Diana's chaperone in India, who couldn't help speaking aloud what was in her mind

- Stephen's daughter Brigid's apparent autism

- Padeen's near-inability to speak

- The warrant officer who always mistook his right and his left and lost his life as a result

- Clonfert's obsessive competitiveness and strange illness that caused him to sweat on only one side of his body

- Alcoholism in numerous cases

Whom else am I missing?

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