Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History (Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories)

By Rod Edmond

An cutting edge, interdisciplinary research of why leprosy, a disorder with a truly low point of an infection, has time and again provoked revulsion and worry. Rod Edmond explores, particularly, how those reactions have been refashioned within the glossy colonial interval. starting as a clinical background, the publication broadens into an exam of ways Britain and its colonies answered to the believed unfold of leprosy. around the empire this concerned separating sufferers of the affliction in 'colonies', frequently on offshore islands. dialogue of the segregation of lepers is then prolonged to analogous examples of this custom, which, it really is argued, has been a necessary a part of the repertoire of colonialism within the smooth interval. The publication additionally examines literary representations of leprosy in Romantic, Victorian and twentieth-century writing, and concludes with a dialogue of traveller-writers comparable to R. L. Stevenson and Graham Greene who defined and fictionalised their event of staying in a leper colony.

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Stanley’s account of an African jungle and the fashionable urban. Stanley’s equatorial woodland, ‘where the rays of the solar by no means penetrate, the place at nighttime, dank air, full of the steam of the heated morass, humans dwarfed into pygmies and brutalized into cannibals lurk and reside and die’, prompt to sales space the towns of darkest England with their very own ‘barbarians’ and ‘pygmies’. the single distinction, sales space claims, is that during Britain ‘the ghastly devastation is roofed, corpselike, with the artificialities and hypocrisies of contemporary civilization’. seventy nine The tropicalising of London, the failure of its population to acclimatise to the modern city, and the worry with degeneration this triggered are usually associated in past due nineteenth-century fiction. George Gissing’s The Nether international (1889) represents working-class existence as nasty, brutal and brief. one among its dominant photographs is of town as a jungle within which the fight for survival is unending, and within which the most powerful and cruellest be triumphant. Exemplifying this is often the nature of Clementina Peckover, whose ‘forehead used to be low and of significant width’, and whose nostril ‘had huge sensual apertures’. She is the ‘embodiment of fierce lifestyles self sustaining of morality’, and her rapacious cruelty, captured in her identify, is in comparison with that of a savage operating wild: ‘Civilisation may perhaps carry no cost in contrast younger lady; it and he or she had no universal criterion. ’80 Even her it seems that powerful actual situation is someway debased: ‘Her healthiness was once most likely much less sound than it appeared to be; one might have in comparison her, to not a few piece of exuberant basic plants, yet seventy eight seventy nine eighty In Robert Louis Stevenson, The unusual Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, ed. Martin A. Danahay (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2001), Appendix 1, pp. 176–7. William sales space, In Darkest England and how Out (London: Charles Knight and Co. , 1970), pp. 9–10, thirteen. George Gissing, The Nether global (London: Dent, 1973), pp. 6, eight. the phobia of degeneration 127 particularly to a rank, evilly-fostered development. The putrid soil of that nether international yields other kinds along with the evidently blighted and sapless. ’81 so much denizens of Gissing’s nether international, although, are of the blighted and sapless sort. Like Cantlie’s description of the Spitalfield weavers as ‘a stunted puny race, who turn into in advance old’,82 they're bodily and morally degraded by way of the squalor, poverty and affliction in their atmosphere. The overwhelmingly actual modes of description, utilized by commentator and novelist alike, concentration the degeneration subject matter. The population of the imperial centre are more and more just like these of tropical colonies and this is often such a lot legible of their our bodies. occasionally the comparability is among working-class and local our bodies, and infrequently among sickly eu our bodies at domestic and out of the country. Such interchangeability is attribute of discussions of degeneration, which as soon as perceived is then obvious all over. the normal aspect of reference for this topic is Max Nordau’s Degeneration, translated into English in 1895.

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