Orwell's Cough: Diagnosing the Medical Maladies and Last Gasps of the Great Writers

Author(s): John Ross

Literary theory

Did Shakespeare's doctors addle his brain with mercury, leading to his early retirement? Was Jane Eyre inspired by the plagued school that claimed the Bronte clan? Did writing 1984 kill George Orwell? Many of our most beloved scribes struggled to conquer not just writer's block but a bevy of medical maladies. John Ross opens his surgery to consult with the great writers and their literary and medical muses. Ross peppers his tales with vivid vignettes of medical practice through the centuries, from Shakespeare's cloaked visits to Southwark to cure his unsavoury rashes to the arsenic-and-horse-serum jabs given for Yeats's fevers. With novelistic flair and deep expertise, Ross reveals a wholly absorbing view of the writer's life - the perfect gift for the doctor, aspiring novelist, or literary addict in your life.

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"Superb - One's prurient reading pleasure is elevated by Ross's clarity, his wit, his authority." Sebastian Faulks, The Spectator "This is a book to which I shall return again and again - Witty and deeply humane." Raymond Tallis, Wall Street Journal "A quietly enthralling book - It's a little like reading a literary version of the TV show House." Daily Mail "A gripping medical detective book - Entertaining." Telegraph "Fascinating, surprising and at times hilarious compilation." New Scientist

John Ross is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. His original investigation of Shakespeare's battles with syphilis drew international media attention, including coverage on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

General Fields

  • : 9781780742250
  • : Oneworld Publications
  • : Oneworld Publications
  • : March 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : John Ross
  • : Paperback
  • : 288