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August 27, 1898

VENEREAL DISEASE IN FICTION.

JAMA. 1898;XXXI(9):476-477. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450090042007

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Abstract

From Swift's "Tale of a Tub" it is evident that it was in the early eighteenth century en regle for young men "seeing life," to contract gonorrhea as a necessary part of their sociologic experience. Dr. Tobias Smollett, in the latter part of the same century, evidently also deemed it a necessary part of the social education of the young men. Roderick Random, while an apothecary's clerk, contracts gonorrhea as a necessary part of an amour. He cures himself and his female companion of this disease. She, a woman of good standing in society originally, has sunk into prostitution through seduction. According to her, in the eighteenth century, "The most fashionable woman of the town is as liable to contagion as one in a much humbler sphere. She infects her admirers; her situation is public; she is avoided, neglected, unable to support her usual appearance, which, however, she strives to

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