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Itch, Clap, PoxVenereal Disease in the Eighteenth-Century Imagination$
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Noelle Gallagher

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217056

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217056.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Itch, Clap, Pox

Noelle Gallagher

Yale University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book examines the imaginative representation of venereal disease in British literature and art produced between 1660 and 1800. In other words, it considers not how venereal disease was diagnosed, treated, or experienced in the eighteenth century, but rather how it was depicted by some of the many poets, novelists, dramatists, and artists who sought to exploit its flexibility as a metaphor. The chapters that follow track the representation of venereal disease in a wide range of eighteenth-century images and texts. In the process, it suggests that this “loathsome disease” became an important vehicle for considering—or reconsidering— some of the most important social and economic phenomena of the age: commercialization, globalization, changing gender norms, shifting class boundaries.

Keywords:   venereal disease, eighteenth century, British literature, British art, commercialization, globalization, gender norms, class boundaries

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