Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis

Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis Review

Was Beethoven experiencing syphilitic euphoria when he composed "Ode to Joy"? Did van Gogh paint "Crows Over the Wheatfield" in a fit of diseased madness right before he shot himself? Was syphilis a stowaway on Columbus's return voyage to Europe? The answers to these provocative questions are likely "yes," claims Deborah Hayden in this riveting investigation of the effects of the "Pox" on the lives and works of world figures from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. Writing with remarkable insight and narrative flair, Hayden argues that biographers and historians have vastly underestimated the influence of what Thomas Mann called "this exhilarating yet wasting disease." Shrouded in secrecy, syphilis was accompanied by wild euphoria and suicidal depression, megalomania and paranoia, profoundly affecting sufferers' worldview, their sexual behavior and personality, and, of course, their art. Deeply informed and courageously argued, Pox has already been heralded as a major contribution to our understanding of genius, madness, and creativity.

Title:Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis
Edition Language:English

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    Pox: Genius, Madness, And The Mysteries Of Syphilis Reviews

  • Seoda

    I found that this was quite an enjoyable read...At first I was a bit intimidated by the format...Introductory chapters followed up by a slew of biographical pieces...But it had me hooked till the end!...

  • Nancy

    I stumbled across this book looking for something else at the library. The premise was alluring. From the jacket blurb, it sounded like many creative famous men had syphilis and that it contributed to...

  • Claudia

    Mostly Pox: etc left me curiously unsatisfied. It's not that I believe or disbelieve that various historical figures had syphilis (although I'm highly unconvinced by the Schumann chapter), it's the au...

  • Karen

    This was a very interesting book. I'd been wanting to read this book for a while. I've been teaching about various Sexually Transmitted Diseases to premed and nursing students, and while I worked on H...

  • Andrew Tollemache

    For starters, this not a book you want to be seen prominently reading at Starbuck's or maybe you do? Hayden's book sets out to argue that many of the famous genius madmen (and women) of the 19th centu...

  • LillyBooks

    I have a soft spot for these medical/historical postulatings, and I found this one quite enjoyable. It begins with a thorough discussion of the origins and history of syphilis, the various stages of t...

  • Tina Dyer

    Really well-written, if a bit paranoia-inducing. "Pox" compares the biographies of a number of notables people--including Van Gogh, Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln, Oscar Wilde--with the symptomology of s...

  • Dawna

    Well researched--to the point of belaboring insistence, at times. However this becomes understandable after a quick look at internet biographies reveals that STILL, in this day and age, historians att...

  • Joan

    Hayden's study consists of two theses, that more creative people than we think of had syphilis, and that syphilis could have been the cause of their creativity. Although the book is speculative she ha...

  • Molly

    the assumed origin and world-wide migration of syphilis.names many historical figures/world leaders/artists that are thought to have contracted syphilis, the treatments that were tried, and the lifest...