Stendhal syndrome
French writing exercise

Le syndrome de Stendhal

Learn more about this fascinating, if controversial, affliction.

Some vocabulary you may want to look up before or during this exercise:
"peculiar", "a phenomenon", "a psychiatrist", "(named) after [someone]", "travel diaries", "at once", "to overwhelm (emotions)", "to feel dizzy", "to have heart palpitations", "to manifest itself", "a case (medical)", "severe (condition)", "to warrant medical attention".

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How the test works

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A few years ago, while I was visiting the city of Florence in Italy, I discovered the existence of a peculiar phenomenon that psychiatrists have named the Stendhal syndrome, after the famous 19th-century French writer. Indeed, Stendhal explained in his travel diaries about Italy that the presence of so much beauty at once had overwhelmed him. He'd suddenly felt dizzy and he'd had heart palpitations. Though Stendhal syndrome isn't officially recognised and seems to manifest itself mainly in Italian Renaissance cities, doctors have observed many cases over the years, some of them severe enough to warrant medical attention.

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