In Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s medical history quite an impressive list of possible diseases
has been collected. In the 1980s the diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome was added to the
list. Evidence of vocal tics was derived from the scatological expressions found in the letters
of Mozart. In addition there are a few contemporary reports on striking motor behavior suggesting
the existence of motor tics. However, in a critical light the arguments for the diagnosis
are quite weak. Most problematic is the concept that involuntary vocal utterances are
transferred to the written form. One would expect to find similar written manifestations of
vocal tics in the work of authors suffering from Tourette’s syndrome. This is neither the case
in the work of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) nor in that of André Malraux (1901-1976). In
conclusion, Tourette’s syndrome is an inventive but implausible diagnosis in the medical history
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