Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0116  Thursday, 20 January 2005

[1]     From:   Nora Kreimer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 10:02:16 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[2]     From:   Jack Kamen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 08:04:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[3]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 09:10:01 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[4]     From:   Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 15:11:03 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nora Kreimer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 10:02:16 -0300
Subject: 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

In his _Dark Lady_(1998), Michael Baldwin speaks of the lord
Chamberlain, Lord Hunsdon, as the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, who
had passed the disease on to his son. Lord Hunsdon was Emilia Lanier,
nee Bassano's lover and had infected her, who in turn had infected
Marlowe, the Earl of Southampton, and Shakespeare. In this novel, apart
from some medical resources, the infected agonizers went to Bath, and as
the ride seems to have been very painful, there were special saddles
intended to alleviate their pain.

 From the Sonnets, I would be inclined to infer Shakespeare had been
infected, but whether that was the cause of his death, I very much
doubt, in the light of what we know about the terminal cases of syphilis
today, and Henry VIII's own final days. But then, when all is said and
done, couldn't we just leave WS alone as he required?

Regards,
Nora Kreimer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Kamen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 08:04:31 -0500
Subject: 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

Robin Hamilton wrote

 >Closer to the Bard's time, Henry Vaughan's elder brother Edward exited
 >prematurely due to precipitating an infusion of mercury up his left
 >nostril, but that was a failed alchemical experiment rather than an
 >attempted cure for the clap.

Although there may be some overlap, Syphilis is not the clap.

Caused by neisseria, the clap is gonorrhea.

Jack Kamen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 09:10:01 -0400
Subject: 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

Robin Hamilton wonders whether "the alleged mercury cure for syph was
18th C rather than
Elizabethan."

For a consideration of mercury in syphilis from the Elizabethan period,
one might consult William Clowes' "A Short and Profitable Treatise
Touching the Cure of the Disease called Morbus Gallicus by Vnctions"
from 1579, available in facsimile in the Early English Experience
Series. At the end of that treatise is an appendix on "The nature and
propertye of Quicksilver" which suggests that the use of mercury was
highly controversial: "I finde none more in doubt at this day, than is
the Quick silver which is most commonly vsed about the curation of the
disease called the French Pocks for the opinion of the learned men are
on both partes" (sig. E7).

Todd Pettigrew

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 15:11:03 -0500
Subject: 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0104 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

Mr. Thompson:

We don't stop guessing because the best part of the human mind is its
gift for inquiry. That's also the basis for all academic and scientific
research, too, isn't it? That we can't help ourselves from wondering,
from suggesting, from looking at the tiny shreds of evidence we have and
piecing together a larger picture?

That's probably why jigsaw puzzles sell so well, too.

To "stop guessing" would require an aggressive attempt to reverse
evolution (may I still say that word?) and bring us back to a previous
incurious life form, possibly one-celled. But that's a guess.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.