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Darwin's Illness$
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Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

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Treatments from Father, Father's Death, Prolonged Vomiting, and Treatments from Dr. Gully with Hydropathy at Malvern

Treatments from Father, Father's Death, Prolonged Vomiting, and Treatments from Dr. Gully with Hydropathy at Malvern

Chapter:
(p.41) 6 Treatments from Father, Father's Death, Prolonged Vomiting, and Treatments from Dr. Gully with Hydropathy at Malvern
Source:
Darwin's Illness
Author(s):

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813032313.003.0006

Charles Darwin's 1842–45 letters to his Shrewsbury family reveal how he continued to depend on his father for advice, assistance, and medical treatment. During these years, Darwin's father remained in good health and spirits. However, he had periods of illness in 1846 and 1847. This caused Darwin to have accentuations of illness and to begin to realize that “Father's death [was] drawing slowly nearer & nearer”. From July 1848 through March 1849, he suffered from attacks of “violent vomiting”, that along with shivering, trembling, and languor were associated with a “swimming” head and black spots before his eyes. The apparent causes for these attacks were feelings of grief and loss over the loss of his father, and his work of classifying barnacles, which he found arduous, frustrating, time-consuming, and of questionable value. Darwin tried Dr. James Gully's hydropathy treatment. One reason for feeling stronger and less depressed, despite still vomiting, was that the Malvern treatments had “at once relieved” him of the nocturnal obsessions that interfered with sleep. As a result of the Malvern treatments, his health and mood improved in a variety of ways.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, death, violent vomiting, Dr. James Gully, hydropathy treatment, Malvern treatments, Shrewsbury

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