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On Flatulence

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Charles Darwin’s life was a vale of sorrows. His mother died when he was a boy, three of his own children perished at an early age, and his great discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection was met with hostility by prominent members of society and many of his fellow scientists. Through most of his adult life he also suffered mightily from disabling anxiety, depression and physical symptoms that included heart palpitations, eczema, vomiting and flatulence. In his mid-fifties he described the latter thus: ‘For 25 years extreme spasmodic daily & nightly flatulence… every passage of flatulence preceded by ringing of ears, treading on air & vision’ (Desmond & Moore, 1991, p. 531).


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© 2012 Nick Haslam

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Haslam, N. (2012). On Flatulence. In: Psychology in the Bathroom. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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