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“Can’t seem to keep my mind to it”: did Arthur Miller’s Salesman have dementia with Lewy bodies?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD, Dr Sean O'Dowd


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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. We present evidence that Willy Loman, the protagonist of Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman”, meets current diagnostic criteria for probable dementia with Lewy bodies. In particular, he presents with attentional deficits and executive dysfunction (with additional subtle visuoperceptual deficits) in addition to dramatic fluctuations in attention and vivid visual hallucinations. Dementia with Lewy bodies is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia. However, it is frequently misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, even—we contest—in one of the most well-known characters in modern literature.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fearon C, Taylor J-P, O'Dowd S

Publication type: Letter

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurology

Year: 2019

Volume: 266

Pages: 1806-1808

Online publication date: 30/04/2019

Acceptance date: 24/04/2019

ISSN (print): 0340-5354

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1459

Publisher: Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH and Co. KG


DOI: 10.1007/s00415-019-09343-8