Alverez, Walter C. Nervousness, Indigestion and Pain. New York: Hoeber, 1943.

 

Alverez, Walter C. Nervousness, Indigestion and Pain. New York: Hoeber, 1943.

Here is an early statement of Alverez' thesis that Darwin suffered from asthenia, which he'd
inherited from both sides of his family. The author looked up the known facts about Darwin's
families and found what he considered to be substantial evidence that Darwin was born to illness.
Grandfather Erasmus, he insists, was decidedly "odd," and Darwin had an uncle who committed
suicide. Then, too, Charles himself had a child who did not survive childhood and who was
severely limited.

There are several quotations presented here from Darwin's diaries, which suggest clearly that
Darwin was upset most by disruptions in his routine. He hated being away from home and he
hated polite society. He stayed at his home in Down because that was the only place where he felt
comfortable.

"The fact that no physician could ever find anything physically wrong with Darwin and the fact
that up until the last few days of his 73 years he never developed symptoms of any organic
disease make it fairly certain that his troubles were functional and due to an inherited peculiarity
of the nervous system." (p. 241)

This author repeated his pet theory about Darwin every chance he got.