Pierre Marie: Gifted Intellect, Poor Timing and Unchecked Emotionality

J Hist Neurosci. 2003 Jun;12(2):154-66. doi: 10.1076/jhin.


Pierre Marie was a prominent member of the French neurological world of the early twentieth century. Having been trained by the celebrated physician, J-M Charcot, Marie remained influenced by his teacher throughout his career. Because of this influence, his career can be logically divided into three phases: first, the early years under the direct mentorship of Charcot (1878-1893); secondly, the aftermath of Charcot's death when Marie left his teacher's institution, the Salpêtrière hospital and established himself at the Bicêtre hospital in southern Paris (1893-1918); and finally, Marie's return to the Salpêtrière to assume the original Charcot chaired professorship, albeit as an aged man (1918-1925). This essay examines Marie's career with an emphasis on documentation of the combined attributes of a gifted intellect as well as a heated emotionality. In the context of his time, these elements prompted Marie to enter into controversies and medico-political battles that advanced neurological knowledge, but likely disadvantaged him in his career successes.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / history
  • Female
  • France
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors / history
  • Neurology / history*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / history

Personal name as subject

  • Pierre Marie