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Peasants and Pellagra in 19th-century Italy

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posted on 07.11.2014, 12:20 by David C. Gentilcore
In March 1814 a London-based periodical called the Pamphleteer published the ‘Narrative of the Cruxifixion of Mattio Lovat, Executed by his Own Hands at Venice’. It took the form of a startling medical case-history of religious mania, as written by a Venetian surgeon, Cesar Ruggieri. The protagonist, Lovat, was a pious young shoemaker from a small village in the Dolomite mountains around Belluno. Lovat’s ambition to become a priest had been thwarted because of his family’s wretched condition. He became ill ‘subject in the spring to giddiness in his head, and eruptions of a leprous appearance showed themselves on his face and hands’. The first sign of insanity appeared in July 1802, when Lovat, perhaps feeling the ‘stirrings of the flesh against the spirit’, ‘performed upon himself the most complete general amputation’– a castration – throwing ‘the parts of which he had deprived himself from his window into the street’. [Opening paragraph]

History

Citation

History Today, 2014, 64 (9), pp. 32-38

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF ARTS, HUMANITIES AND LAW/School of History

Version

AO (Author's Original)

Published in

History Today

Publisher

History Today Ltd

issn

0018-2753

Copyright date

2013

Publisher version

http://www.historytoday.com/david-gentlecore/peasants-and-pellagra-19th-century-italy

Notes

The file associated with this record is embargoed while permission to archive is sought from the publisher. The final published version may be available through the links above.

Language

en

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