I am honored to be giving the Joseph I. Waring Jr. Lecture: "Tuberculous lives: Smollett, Keats and Orwell" at The Waring Historical Library at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 5:30 pm in the Basic Sciences Building auditorium on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina.
The lecture falls on and marks World TB Day, March 24th, which is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. World TB Day uses the date of Dr. Robert Koch's announcement of the discovery of the cause of tuberculosis as a moment to reflect on what still needs to be done to combat this disease. The theme of World TB day 2016 is "Unite to End TB".
Tobias Smollett (1721-71), John Keats (1795-1821) and George Orwell (1903-1950) shared the common fate of so many throughout history: a life lived with, and death from, tuberculosis. The experiences of Smollett, Keats and Orwell span the period from the 18th century to the dawn of the antibiotic age and provide a window onto doctors’ aspirations to treat an incurable condition and patients’ hopes and despairs. While 4000 people a day continue to die from tuberculosis these narratives still resonate.