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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
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Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 27 Jul 1995 15:35:52 -0700
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 18:15:10 +0900
From: Mitsuharu Matsuoka <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Malaria Fever and Syphilis

In LITTLE DORRIT, chapter 24, Fanny Dorrit says about her brother Edward
('Tip') to Edmund Sparkler, ". . .  That he contracted Malaria Fever
somewhere, either by travelling day and night to Rome, where, after all, he
arrived too late to see poor dear papa before his death--or under some
other unwholesome circumstances--is indubitable, if that is what you mean.
Likewise that his extremely careless life has made him a very bad subject
for it indeed." (Illustrated, p.698; Penguin, p.762)

It may be funny (or so it sounds to me), but Fanny's remarks involve a
distinct understatement.  Dickens seems to be anxious rather to understate
the fact of Edward's debauchery.

Why is it, then, that Edward was attacked by "Malaria Fever"?

It is undeniable, I think, though perhaps also unprovable, that his malaria
fever is the result or by-product of pyretotherapy [fever treatment].  It
is a way of treating neurosyphilis [syphilis in the nervous system].
What do you think about my opinion?

I am interested in venereal diseases connected with prostitution.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could let me know about any passages
of the fictions and letters which concerned V.D.

Thank you in advance.

Mitsuharu Matsuoka