Cholera in European Literature: multiple traits of the nemesis (1829-1923)

Pelagalli, Roberta (2016) Cholera in European Literature: multiple traits of the nemesis (1829-1923), [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Les litteratures de l'europe unie-european literatures-letterature dell'europa unita, 28 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/7433.
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For the first time in the history, around the thirties of the nineteenth century, cholera reaches Europe coming from Asia. Until the end of the century, both Medical Science and Literature deal with it as a common subject of investigation: they try to inspect the causes of this unknown disease under a scientific, eschatological and social or human perspective. Both the branches of knowledge overlap their area of interest about cholera up to the first half of the century; for instance, Literature offers its creative linguistic archive to the study, whereas Pasteur and Koch’s researches enhance the European narrative imaginary in English, French and Italian cultural contexts. Medical Science and Literature go along a parallel path but cholera lingers as incurable disease. In particular, Literature gives many facets to this ailment: images of cholera are linked to a traveler under the shape of an avenger or to a cursed pilgrim and sometimes to a ubiquitous presence: they all come from East to punish Western populations and a supernatural force pushes them. Furthermore, cholera is a kind of poison that a plague-spreader, as spokesperson for a social redemption, has disseminated in the city in disguise of a foreign wanderer, a political opponent or a doomed scientist. Eventually, cholera is an upsetting occurrence able to subvert individuals’ life and their moral values because leads them to mental degeneration: protagonists are able to commit crimes of passion and to take revenge. Cholera becomes expression of a nemesis in each of these literary characterizations, portrayed like divine justice, social justice or human justice.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Pelagalli, Roberta
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze umanistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
choléra, maladie, médecine, voyageur, némésis, savant, étranger, empoisonneur, spectre, pèlerin, insecte, microbe, littérature, science, fiction, histoire, Europe, Inde, Orient, Gange, Broussais, Koch, Pasteur, nemesism, omniprésent, marche, poison, revenant, esprit, aérien
Data di discussione
7 Giugno 2016

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