Syphilis and Subjectivity

From the Victorians to the Present

  • Kari Nixon
  • Lorenzo Servitje

Table of contents

About this book


This book demystifies the cultural work of syphilis from the late nineteenth century to the present. By interrogating the motivations that engender habits of belief, thought, and conduct regarding the disease and notions of the self, this interdisciplinary volume investigates constructions of syphilis that had a significant role in shaping modern subjectivity. Chapters draw from a variety of scholarly methods, such as cultural and literary studies, sociology, and anthropology. Authors unravel the representations and influence of syphilis in various cultural forms: cartography, medical writings, literature, historical periodicals, and contemporary popular discourses such as internet forums and electronic news media.

Exploring the ways syphilitic rhetoric responds to, generates, or threatens social systems and cultural capital offers a method by which we can better understand the geographies of blame that are central to the conceptual heritage of the disease. This unique volume will appeal to students and scholars in the medical humanities, medical sociology, the history of medicine, and Victorian and modernist studies.


Science and technology studies Prostitution and Disease Health studies Medical sociology history of syphilis in Britain sexually transmitted diseases public health and sexually transmitted diseases disease prevention medical humanities literature and medicine Syphilis in the 21st Century Ernest Hemingway and Syphilis Syphilis in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Pregnancy and Syphilis in Sarah Grand's The Heavenly Twins

Editors and affiliations

  • Kari Nixon
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Servitje
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishWhitworth UniversitySpokane, WAUSA
  2. 2.Department of English and Health, Medicine, and Society ProgramLehigh UniversityBethlehem, PAUSA

Bibliographic information