The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 27, 2016

December 27, 1954

Mary Dobson, (December 27, 1954) graduated from Harvard (1980) and Nuffield College Oxford (1982) with degrees that reflect her interest in the history of medicine. She was subsequently associated with Oxford as well as other prestigious situations.

Just a list of her publications reflects a unique and important work:

Contours of Death and Disease in Early Modern England
, 1997 
Disease: the extraordinary stories behind history’s deadliest killers
, 2007
The Story of Medicine: from bloodletting to biotechnology, 2013
Murderous Contagion: a human history of disease, 2015.

The following books are for a non-scholarly audience. The titles, about which there is nothing tomby or tomey, are as important perhaps as the former list:

Tudor Odours, 1997;
Roman Aromas, 1997;
Victorian Vapours, 1997;
Reeking Royals, 1998;
Vile Vikings, 1998;
Wartime Whiffs
, 1998;
Greek Grime, 1998;
Mouldy Mummies, 1998;
Medieval Muck, 1998;
Messy Medicine, 1999.

I can think of few things as likely to interest a popular audience in historical study as these brief, illustrated, and funny books. Now I notice Oxford University Press categorizes these as "Juvenile Nonfiction." That is because of the style. Everyone will enjoy reading them.

Her references to cats are also interesting. Murderous Contagion: A Human History of Disease mentions as a previous treatment rabies:

In Korea, medicines were made up using cats as the main ingredient – the idea, possibly, being that the cat medicine would neutralize the dog poison. The 'hair of the dog that bit you' ('like for like') was also used as a popular remedy to treat the wound.

All of which makes us grateful we were born in modern times, and for the scholarship of Doctor Dobson.

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