Staff Review: Orwell’s Cough
Diagnosing the Medical Maladies & Last Gasps of the Great Writers
This is a most fascinating book written by a GP that is not dense with medical details but full of interesting anecdotes, on the illnesses and diseases suffered by some of our most notable authors. For instance did you know that Shakespeare was terrified of getting syphilis, or that Orwell fought and died of tuberculosis?
Each of the ten chapters deals with a well known author and not only delves into their illnesses but some interesting aspects of their private and writing life, so not only do we get to read about Shakespeare but John Milton, Jonathan Swift, who incidentally died of dementia but also Yeats and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There is a chapter about Jack London with facts about his writing and living and early childhood that does make for fantastic reading and time well spend.
This book will appeal to any reading interested in the stories about storytellers, I found it disturbing, in that some of the medical methods now seen torturous but very interesting, in that each practitioner had the best interests of their patients at heart. The author John Ross has also included an extensive bibliography one each author.
Find the book here, and buy at your local bookshop.
Pan Macmillan/Palgrave Macmillan Australia
I have worked for Macmillan for over 21 years and have been in the industry since the heady days of the seventies!