Romanticizing Tuberculosis: Poetry, Prose, Opera, and Society of the Romantic Era
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The Romantic Era peaked from 1800 through 1850. This era saw an increased emphasis on individualism and the self, and a growing sense of nationalism. The works of the period relied on sensory description, using romance to cloud otherwise bleak situations. For society, consumption was linked to poetic and aesthetic qualities, to the extent that the consumptive’s pale and slender features were viewed as highly desirable characteristics. This reverence allowed for portrayals and perceptions of consumption to be clouded by romantic images, until scientists were able to identify the tuberculosis causing bacteria and its severity became better understood.