Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities: a case report of posttraumatic stress disorder

Psychopathology. 2005 Nov-Dec;38(6):334-7. doi: 10.1159/000089454. Epub 2005 Nov 1.


In posttraumatic stress disorder, a traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the form of intrusive recollections, dreams or dissociative flashback episodes; cues to the event lead to distress and are avoided, and there are persistent symptoms of increased arousal. While this diagnostic concept has been widely discussed and its existence questioned, a novel written by Charles Dickens long before it was included in any diagnostic system can be viewed as an early case report of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • France
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • Literature*
  • Medicine in Literature*
  • Memory
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / history
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*