Desire and Disorder: Fevers, Fictions, and Feeling in English Georgian Culture

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Candace Ward

This book situates eighteenth-century medical fever texts in the broader framework of sentimental culture, reading works by physicians like Sir Richard Manningham, George Fordyce, John Leake, James Carmichael Smyth, and James Lind against various fictions of the period - novels like Frances Sheridan's "Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph", Sarah Fielding's "The Adventures of David Simple and Volume the Last", Mary Wollstonecraft's "Maria", J. W. Orderson's "Creoleana", William Godwin's "Caleb Williams", Charles Dickens' "Bleak House", and poetry like James Grainger's "The Sugar Cane" and Anna Letitia Barbauld's "Epistle to William Wilberforce." These juxtapositions not only reveal the degree to which physicians deployed the sentimental discourse used by literary artists but also demonstrate that "fever" as a disease and metaphor was a highly fluid construct, evoked for different reasons and shaped according to various cultural imperatives.