Perhaps I have been immersing myself in eighteenth century gentry studies for far too long. But the last few weeks have seen my foot seized by that painful affliction, the gout as they called it. Except to those afflicted, there is something comical about the name and the images it conjures up of corpulent toffs in agony with thier raised foot bandaged and pampered. I’m thinking Cruikshank or Gillray and their satirical cartoons. The association with overindulgence in food and drink and even a suspicion of licentiousness looms large.
I can’t speak for what old Ben Wade got up to in the Grange… anyway I am consoling myself by reading Porter and Rousseau’s Gout, the Patrician Malady a historical commentary on the disease which reveals among many details the great and the good among suffers Leonardo da Vinci, John Milton, Isaac Newton, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Samuel Johnson, Charles Darwin, in good company then.