Marginalia, no.82

Perhaps T.B. had been a mistake.

~ Peter De Vries, The Blood of the Lamb

Contracting TB got Don Wanderhope out of one fix while putting him into another.  That’s typical of tuberculosis.  Its near-eradication in the twentieth century was a disaster for literature.  Among the more richly allusive ways to snuff it, TB had ranked up there with drowning at sea: Keats and Lycidas arm in arm.  Swine flu doesn’t have the same cachet.  One can only hope these new drug-resistant TB strains will re-light the chandeliers in the grand alpine sanitariums someday.


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