Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis

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Basic Books, Aug 4, 2008 - Medical - 352 pages
From Beethoven to Oscar Wilde, from Van Gogh to Hitler, Deborah Hayden throws new light on the effects of syphilis on the lives and works of seminal figures from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries.Writing with remarkable insight and narrative flair, Hayden argues that biographers and historians have vastly underestimated the influence of what Thomas Mann called "this exhilarating yet wasting disease." Shrouded in secrecy, syphilis was accompanied by wild euphoria and suicidal depression, megalomania and paranoia, profoundly affecting sufferers' worldview, their sexual behavior, and their art. Deeply informed and courageously argued, Pox has been heralded as a major contribution to our understanding of genius, madness, and creativity.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - redfiona - LibraryThing

Mostly Pox: etc left me curiously unsatisfied. It's not that I believe or disbelieve that various historical figures had syphilis (although I'm highly unconvinced by the Schumann chapter), it's the ... Read full review

Pox: genius, madness, and the mysteries of syphilis

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Independent scholar Hayden has written a fascinating account of the role that syphilis may have played in the lives of noted historical Western figures from Columbus to Hitler. Over the course of five ... Read full review

Contents

Christopher Columbus The First European Syphilitic?
4
The Revenge of the Americas
13
A Brief History of the Spirochete
23
Shedding Light on the Poison of the Darkness
29
From Poisonous Cures to Wonder Drug Almost
44
The Physicians Viewpoint
52
Detective Zeal The Fragile Art of Retrospective Diagnosis
61
Ludwig van Beethoven 17701827
72
Vincent van Gogh 18531890
153
Friedrich Nietzsche 18441900
173
Oscar Wilde 18541900
201
Karen Blixen Isak Dinesen 18851962
230
James Joyce 18821941
240
Adolf Hitler 18891945
252
A Gallery of Pox The Myth of Syphilis
306
Epilogue
318

Franz Schubert 17971828
90
Robert Schumann 18101856
98
Charles Baudelaire 18211867
113
Mary Todd 18181882 and Abraham Lincoln 18091865
121
Gustave Flaubert 18211880
134
Guy de Maupassant 18501893
143
Ten Clues to Secret Syphilis
320
Stokess Case Study
322
Notes
324
Bibliography
354
Index
368
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