Patrick O'Brian

Stephen Maturin: "'McAdam, you know more about this aspect of medicine than I do: what do you say to a patient with no physical injury, no tangible lesion, who loses all real concern with his life? Who takes a disgust to the world? A scholar, say, who has edited Livy, Livy his sole study and his delight: he stumbles on the lost books, carries them home, and finds he has not the courage, the spirit, to open even the first. He does not care about Livy's lost books, nor about his books that are known, nor about any books or authors at all. They do not interest him. He will not lift the cover; and he sees that very soon his own animal functions will not interest him either. Do you understand me? Have you seen cases of this sort in your practice?'"

-- Patrick O'Brian, The Mauritius Command (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977), 341-342.