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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0085  Monday, 17 January 2005

[1]     From:   William Sutton <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Jan 2005 06:20:13 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[2]     From:   M Yawney <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Jan 2005 07:44:45 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[3]     From:   Colin Cox <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Jan 2005 11:48:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[4]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Jan 2005 11:08:53 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Sutton <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Jan 2005 06:20:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

Funny this topic seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. Here's
another link,

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-01/idso-swi011005.php

I can't say I'm fired up by this topic,

Yours,
William S.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M Yawney <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Jan 2005 07:44:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

He wrote less as he grew old, signed his will with a shaky hand, was
bald, and supposedly withdrew socially (i.e. moved to the country)--this
suggests that Shakespeare had syphilis? These same "symptoms" fit a
large number of men in late-middle age whom I know, none of them have
syphilis.

We are so frustrated by the lack of information on Shakespeare's life
that even theories build on non-existent evidence get their brief moment
of attention.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Jan 2005 11:48:28 -0800
Subject: 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

 >Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

There was a theory floated that Shakespeare had caught a mild case of
the plague in late 1599-1600. This was partly based on the cluster
mention of boils and bubuckles in plays such as Henry and Troilus. Also
Shakespeare being born in a particularly virulent plague year, he may
have had some resistance to the disease. More food for medical thought.

Colin Cox

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 15 Jan 2005 11:08:53 -0600
Subject: 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0073 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

 >This may be of interest to some.  From the abstract of an article by
 >John J. Ross in the current issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases:
 >
 >"This article examines the possibility that Shakespeare received
 >successful treatment for syphilis and advances the following new
 >hypothesis: Shakespeare's late-life decrease in artistic production,
 >tremor, social withdrawal, and alopecia were due to mercury poisoning
 >from syphilis treatment. He may also have had anasarca due to
 >mercury-related membranous nephropathy. This medical misadventure may
 >have prematurely ended the career of the greatest writer in the English
 >language.

This is enlightening I must say. Baldness. Retirement. Spending time
with family. Now I know what's wrong with so many of my friends- they've
contracted syphilis and undergone mercury treatment. I'll rush right out
and offer them my sympathy.

Or maybe not.

Cheers,
don

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