Did William Shakespeare's doctors addle his brain with cinnabar and mercury? Was Jane Eyre inspired by the plagued school that claimed the Brontė clan? Did writing 1984 kill George Orwell? In this fascinating collection of case studies, John Ross of Harvard Medical School opens his surgery to consult with the likes of Milton, Swift, Melville, and Joyce, exploring the history of medicine through the treatment of great literary figures, from the Bard's cloaked visits to Southwark (to cure his unsavory rashes) to the arsenic-and-horse-serum jabs given for W.B. Yeats's fevers.
"[The author] delves into family history, romantic melodrama and quirkier aspects of the writers' lives. The result is a fascinating, surprising and at times hilarious compilation."New Scientist