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Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History (Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories)

By Rod Edmond

An leading edge, interdisciplinary examine of why leprosy, a illness with a really low point of an infection, has many times provoked revulsion and worry. Rod Edmond explores, particularly, how those reactions have been refashioned within the smooth colonial interval. starting as a scientific historical past, the e-book broadens into an exam of ways Britain and its colonies spoke back to the believed unfold of leprosy. around the empire this concerned separating sufferers of the ailment in 'colonies', usually on offshore islands. dialogue of the segregation of lepers is then prolonged to analogous examples of this tradition, which, it's argued, has been a necessary a part of the repertoire of colonialism within the smooth interval. The booklet additionally examines literary representations of leprosy in Romantic, Victorian and twentieth-century writing, and concludes with a dialogue of traveller-writers reminiscent of R. L. Stevenson and Graham Greene who defined and fictionalised their adventure of staying in a leper colony.

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Or even those antitheses are much less absolute than may perhaps in the beginning look. The outdated testomony injunction to diagnose and expel the leprous didn't rule out the opportunity of restoration and go back. And the fashionable missionary-led makes an attempt to deal with and guard the leper more often than not concerned kinds of segregation that amounted to an incommutable lifestyles sentence. even supposing leprosy turns out to were associated with virtually each that you can think of point of human existence, its most typically ordinary organization has been with intercourse.

Leper’, specifically, has many attainable inflections ranging via rejection, worry and abuse to pity and sympathy. to explain lepers as sufferers may boring this resonance and veil the truth that such a lot lepers during this interval weren't handled as sufferers in any respect. ‘Leprosy’ is extra impartial and hasn't ever relatively been changed through ‘Hansen’s ailment’ besides. fifty five Jane Buckingham, Leprosy in Colonial South India: medication and Confinement (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), passim, particularly pp. 148–50. 18 Leprosy and Empire: A scientific and Cultural historical past the most argument for losing the time period is to take away the stigma of the disorder.

And even supposing clinical missionaries could have been sustained via the instance of Jesus curing Lazarus, the lepers of Robben Island refused to hear readings approximately their biblical opposite numbers. As a eu leper wrote to the Colonial Secretary in 1907: ‘read the thirteenth bankruptcy of Leviticus and you'll see that i'm no longer what God’s legislation describes’. sixty seven This discrepancy among biblical and sleek different types of the sickness were famous via Knollys, who requested the physician at the island: ‘Where are the Miriams, the Naamans, and the Gehazis, lepers as white as snow?

In doing so he had additionally found Hansen’s paintings and acknowledged its strength value. In document on Leprosy and Leper-Asylums in Norway the hereditary rationalization continues to be dominant, and Carter makes transparent that the voluntary asylum coverage in Norway isn't really in keeping with the concept the disorder was once contagious. 39 In On Leprosy and Elephantiasis the hereditary concept has been undercut, even though it keeps to notify the most physique of the textual content. either, consequently, fascinatingly demonstrate the tensions round the time that Hansen’s discovery threw into query the placement that sleek technological know-how had for numerous a long time considered as incontrovertible.

The tale of Molokai has time and again been diminished to the tale of Damien. yet as Pennie Moblo has mentioned, Kalaupapa was once now not a abandoned peninsula yet already inhabited by means of taro and sweet-potato farmers operating the adjoining Waikolu Valley; additional, the colony used to be way more self-organising than the inventory narrative indicates, and its reputable administrative constitution generally concerned a Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian sufferer because the superintendent. Damien was once transitority superintendent for numerous years within the overdue 1870s yet used to be faraway from this submit by way of the Hawaiian Board of wellbeing and fitness after proceedings approximately his arbitrary use of energy.

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