Tag Archives: the French Disease

Book Review of Casanova’s Guide to Medicine

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: Casanova’s Guide to Medicine. Lisetta Lovett. The eighteenth-century Italian Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) is today best remembered for legendary amorous pursuits that resulted in his name becoming a part of the English language. What has been forgotten, however, is that he was a remarkable and erudite polymath. He […]

The men who defeated syphilis

German zoologist Fritz Schaudinn. Source Fritz Schaudinns, Verlag Leopold Voss, Hamburg und Leipzig 1911. Via Wikimedia. Beginnings The origins of syphilis have been subject to much debate. The disease has been claimed to be thousands of years old and originally to have evolved from yaws. Generally mistaken for leprosy and not recognized as a separate entity, […]

Charles VIII: the king who bumped his head

Charles VIII was proclaimed king of France in 1470 at the age of thirteen and is remembered in history chiefly for invading Italy to assert his claim to the throne of Naples. He set in motion, by this invasion, a process that left Italy languishing under foreign domination for more than 300 years. During his […]

A Night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury: syphilis among the British aristocracy in William Hogarth’s marriage à-la-mode

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, USA   Fig. 1: William Hogarth The Inspection, from Marriage A-la-Mode ca. 1743, National Gallery, London. William Hogarth’s famous series Marriage à-la-mode parodies English society, particularly their arranged marriages and often dissolute lifestyle. He peppered his satire of upper-class matrimony with a moralizing tone and made clear visual references to syphilis and […]