The emergence of syphilis in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century had a profound influence on the history of Western civilization during the Renaissance. The author's assertion that syphilis was as widespread in England as in the rest of Europe challenges generally accepted views in the field. Working from primary sources, he shows how syphilis spread across the country, what its effect was, the range of cures that were used, and what preventative measures were taken against it. He shows how syphilis brought about a profound change of manners and morals during the Renaissance, leading to an emphasis on monogamy, premarital chastity and absolute fideltiy within marriage.
He suggests that, in many ways, the emergence of syphilis has numerous parallels with our latest venereal epidemic, AIDS. There are many indications that a simlar change is taking place in our modern world, and that a moral reaction rivalling that of the Reformation may be on its way.
Johannes Fabricius, noted author and scholar, is a lecturer and teacher at various Danish colleges of education and is also a Research Fellow at the Department for the Study of the History of Medicine at the University of Copenhagen. He has published a number of books on depth psychology, literature and history, including Alchemy: The Medieval Alchemists and Their Royal Art (1976) and Shakespeare's Hidden World: A Study of His Unconscious (1989).
Acknoledgements. Illustrations. Preface. 1. The Sinister Shepherd. 2. Wonder Drugs for the Pox. 3. England and the Pox. 4. An Age of Upheaval. 5. Chroniclers of Syphilis and Prostitution. 6. Prostitution in England. 7. High-Risk Groups. 8. The Promiscuous City and Its Stage Representation. 9. Shakespeare and His Circle. 10. Shakespeare's Unconscious Imagery. 11. Shakespeare's Mid-Life Crisis. 12. The Dangerous Infirmity of Burning. 13. Conclusion. Bilbliography. Index.