Consumption: The Fashionable Disease of the Self and Its Romantic Allure in Literature
Arsto Nasir Ahmed
is considered as a peculiarly significant disease across different disciplines. This research traces the medical and literary history of the disease then discusses its aestheticised glamour in a number of writings that date back to the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Before being identified as a lethal disease in the 20th century, consumption was dealt with positively during the preceding periods or eras i.e., being consumptive signified love, easy death, female beauty, male creativity and genius, etc. The specific purpose of this academic endeavour is to answer in detail the questions of why, how and when consumption—as a destructive force— was regarded as a strong cultural device for self-fashioning and what made the perception on the disease shift or alter from positive to negative— from an aestheticised, romantic disease to a deadly one.