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Books, Journals, New Media
August 11, 1999

GoutGout: The Patrician Malady

Author Affiliations
 

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media

 

Not Available

 

by Roy Porter and G. S. Rousseau, 393 pp, with illus, $35, ISBN 0-300-07386-0, New Haven, Conn, Yale University Press, 1998.

JAMA. 1999;282(6):592-593. doi:10.1001/jama.282.6.592-JBK0811-3-1

This book was written by a professor of the social history of medicine at the Wellcome Institute, University College, London, and a professor of English at King's College, Aberdeen, England. It is, thus, a social and literary history of gout, or at least of the term gout, primarily in Britain and the colonies. It documents the famous people who had the disease and everything that was called gout through the ages (some of which actually was gout). The list of famous sufferers is enormous; one was King George IV, who was called "Swellfoot the Tyrant" (in the title of a Shelley drama). There are extensive quotations from notable sources, both autobiographical and literary, giving an interesting picture of how the term was used. For example, the authors note that both Coleridge and Tennyson had articular disease plus "a host of other symptoms for which ‘gouty' served as a flag of convenience."

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