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A literary portrait of a case of Hodgkin lymphoma by Wilkie Collins?
  1. Angel Fernandez-Flores
  1. Service of Anatomic Pathology, Hospital El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Angel Fernandez-Flores, Department of Anatomic Pathology, Hospital El Bierzo, Medicos Sin Fronteras 7, Ponferrada 24411, Spain; gpyauflowerlion{at}


In October 1859, ‘The Queen of Hearts’ was published by Wilkie Collins. This book is a collection of 10 short stories written by the protagonists (three retired brothers), in order to keep their niece (aka the queen of hearts) entertained, until the arrival of her fiancé-to-be. The second story of the book, titled ‘Brother Griffith's story of the family secret,’ narrates the death of a young girl who has a slow-growing deforming tumour on her neck. Even with the few clinical details provided by the literary description, the current report examines the possibility of Hodgkin lymphoma as a diagnosis, concluding that the option is not an unwise one.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Thomas Hodgkin
  • Robert Carswell
  • Wilkie Collins

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.