Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday at Wolf Hall!

I am reading "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel! So far it is SO GOOD! I had read that her book, "Bring Up the Bodies" is one of the best books of 2012 (so far), but that it was a good idea to read "Wolf Hall" first. These are books about Tudor England - always a subject I enjoy!


I am not too far into "Wolf Hall," but so far the only words that I have come across that puzzle me are "sweating sickness." Don't laugh! I know what sweating is and I know what sickness is! But...the two together? What does it mean? The book says that every few years the sweating sickness kills a lot of people in London and they die the same day they get it!

I read several articles and found out that nobody really knows WHAT it was. Here is an excerpt from Discover magazine, June 1, 1997:

"Medical historians have never known what caused the sweating sickness. That the disease was neither plague nor typhus was clear from contemporary accounts. Its victims bore neither the boils typical of plague nor the rash of typhus. Now physicians Vanya Gant and Guy Thwaites, both of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, think they may have identified the killer. Sudor Anglicus, they say, may have been an early version of a disease that has made headlines in recent years: hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which erupted in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest in the summer of 1993."

I have written this post so as to participate in Wondrous Words Wednesday at BermudaOnion.net.

24 comments:

  1. I'm not laughing because I didn't know what it meant either. I bet that book is full of words I don't know.

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    Replies
    1. Actually the vocab is not too bad in this book, and it's SUCH a great story!

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  2. Very interesting about the sweating sickness.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/07/wondrous-words-wednesday_25.html

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  3. I don't know what sweating sickness is either. I have read of it before but, of course, I just skipped over it. Good for you for stopping and thinking about it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margot...I always wonder about these things and what the modern day equivalent is...like how consumption is TB etc.

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    2. Hi Margot,

      You make a good point there. I am as guilty as the next man of skipping over words or phrases that I don't really know the meaning of or understand. That is why this meme is so brilliant, it gives us all chance to admit to these little transgressions and ensure that we take the time out to do a little research along the way.

      Yvonne

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    3. I agree...this is a really good meme and we get some good discussions, in addition to it enhancing our own reading.

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  4. Hi Libby,

    I just had to go off and read some of the information about this strange illness for myself and found that the Wikipedia article was really interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweating_sickness

    You can't believe that something so common and yet so devastating, could wreak havoc for over 80 years.

    I see that 'Bring Up The Bodies' has today been put onto the Booker Prize longlist!

    Interesting post, thanks for sharing,

    Yvonne

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I didn't know it had made the list - good! I will look at the wiki article that you found.

      Whenever people long for the "good old days," I think about these diseases...and the primitive plumbing - and I am glad that we are living NOW!

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  5. Replies
    1. It is still a mystery to this day...

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  6. Yuck... I'd rather not know the details, so I won't click through the Wikipedia link. But thank you for bringing up the subject: this is one worrd I would be sure to skip, thinking it means just any illness causing a lot of sweating.

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    Replies
    1. LOL! The details are not too gruesome like ebola or something. The ppl just got a fever and then died almost immediately...odd.

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  7. Such a fascinating post! I'd never heard of sweating sickness before either. That wiki article is certainly absorbing. I haven't read Wolf Hall yet, but have it sitting in the TBR. Waiting. I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Louise! Glad you came by! Wolf Hall is one of the best books I have read in quite a while and I am really into it. I have to drag myself away to do other things - like sleep - LOL!

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  8. I love medical mysteries..really hanta virus..wow..

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    1. Me too Michelle...notice at the beginning of the excerpt I copied they talked about "medical historians." I didn't even know there was such a thing(!)

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