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In “Hemingway’s Brain” A Psychiatrist Offers Diagnosis For Writer’s Demise

University of South Carolina Press

Theories abound regarding why famed writer Ernest Hemingway shot and killed himself in Idaho in 1961. Some claim he suffered from bipolar disorder or that he had depression. But in the new book “Hemingway’s Brain” (University of South Carolina Press/2017), psychiatrist Andrew Farah offers a new theory.

He proposes Hemingway suffered from a progressive degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition results from multiple blows to the head and is sometimes seen in boxers or NFL players.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Farah, chief of psychiatry at High Point Division of the University of North Carolina Healthcare System, about developing his theory and how Hemingway’s own writing left clues for this diagnosis.


Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.