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John J. Ross
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This Old Firehouse
Were Shakespeare's shaky handwriting, his obsession with venereal disease, and his premature retirement connected? Did John Milton go blind from his propaganda work for Oliver Cromwell, or did he have a rare and devastating complication of a very common eye problem? Did Jonathan Swift's preoccupation with sex and filth result from a neurological condition that might also explain his late-life surge in creativity? Were Herman Melville's disabling attacks of eye and back pain the product of "nervous affections," or did he actually have a malady that was unknown to medical science until well after his death? Was Jack London a suicide, or was his death the product of a series of self-induced medical misadventures? Did James Joyce need several horrific eye operations because of a strange autoimmune disease acquired from a Dublin streetwalker?
These questions and many more are answered in this fascinating untold story of the impact of disease on the lives and works of some the finest writers in the English language, as Ross cheerfully debunks old biographical myths, and suggests fresh diagnoses for these writers' real-life medical mysteries.
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