The History Of Gout
Gout has interested medical writers and cultural commentators from the time of Ancient Greece. Historically seen as a disease afflicting upper-class males of superior wit, genius and creativity, it has included among its sufferers Erasmus, the Medici, Edward Gibbon, Samuel Johnson, Immanuel Kant and Robert Browning. Gout has also been the subject of medical folklore, viewed as a disease that protects its sufferers and assure long life. This book investigates the history of gout and through it offers a perspective on medical and social history, sex, prejudice and class and explains why gout was gender specific. The authors investigate medical thinking about gout through the ages, from Hippocrates and Galen through Paracelsus and Harvey to Archibald Garrod in the Victorian era and beyond. They discuss the cultural, moral, religious and personal qualities associated with gout, examining social commentary, personal writings, cartoons and visual arts, and imaginative literature (including novels of Dickens, Thackeray and Joseph Conrad). Weaving together all these threads, the authors provide a disease history that integrates the medical and the moral, the scientific and the humanistic, the verbal and the visual across a wide sweep of time. In an era in which we are interested by the ways that disease and health are represented by medicine and the media, an era in which the dialogue between patients and doctors over the naming and blaming of diseases is more intense than ever, this book offers an historical commnetary on many of our major concerns.