Disease and Literature Tuberculosis And Literature - Essay

Tuberculosis And Literature

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Lewis J. Moorman

SOURCE: An introduction to Tuberculosis and Genius, University of Chicago Press, 1940, pp. ix-xxxiii.

[In the following excerpt, Moorman speculates on the possible connection between tuberculosis and literary genius.]

Disregarding certain mythological references, including the vague, symptomatic pictures found in the songs of Orpheus and in the Homeric poems, we are convinced that the serious study of history justifies the belief that tuberculosis may have been the first-born of the mother of pestilence and disease. Exhumed skeletons of prehistoric periods bear the marks of tuberculosis. Thus we see that before the time of...

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