the fit

Fyodor Dostoevsky suffered from epilepsy. In his novel, The Idiot, he talks in the third person about how auras—the period preceding seizures—were of "the highest form of existence" and "the acme of harmony and beauty." He writes:

He remembered that he always had one minute just before the epileptic fit when suddenly in the midst of sadness, spiritual darkness and oppression, there seemed at moments a flash of light in his brain, and with extraordinary impetus all his vital forces suddenly began working at their highest tension. The sense of life, the consciousness of self,  were multiplied ten times at these moments which passed like a flash of lightning. His mind and heart were flooded with extraordinary light... But these moments, these flashes, were only the prelude of that final second in which the fit began.

He goes on to say:

At the very last conscious moment before the fit began, he had time to say to himself clearly and consciously, "Yes, for this moment one might give one's whole life!"

If only, in the face of most reliable and continued seizures, I could know that it was so for my son Calvin. 

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 - 1881)


  1. I've often thought the same and find it significant that as a young adult, "The Idiot," along with "The Brothers Karamazov" were two of my very favorite books.

  2. Wow. Dostoesvsky was a hottie. You'd never think it based on the more elderly depictions. Dashing even with that scraggle of facial hair.