ESSAY Jim PrattNWR Issue 99
The Nightingale Silenced
The author Margiad Evans had her first epileptic fit in May 1950, alone, in an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds, only a few months before the birth of her only child. Her experiences stimulated her to write one of the few non-medical accounts of the affliction by a patient, namely A Ray of Darkness
, which was published in 1952. Treatment provided a period of remission, and she hoped she had shaken off the disease. However, with little warning, further attacks occurred a few years later. This is her account of the first of them.
Margiad Evans (Peggy Eileen Whistler, 1909–1958) was an illustrator, novelist, memoirist and poet. This account, as recorded in a hand-written manuscript she names The Nightingale Silenced
, is dated 1955. It describes an illness in the summer of 1954 which would end with her death in 1958.
One month ago the major epilepsy which follows me and which I tried to describe in A Ray of Darkness, deepened. It became acute. I am now going to begin the attempt to describe what happened not from any morbidity but from the only desire that seems to be left to me in my apathetic weakness – the desire to put into physicians’ hands a poke of clues to the feelings of such a sufferer as myself.
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