Skip to main content

Part of the book series: Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History ((STMMH))

  • 189 Accesses

Abstract

Everyone can find dogs frightening. Almost all of us have been snapped at by a dog and many of us have crossed the road to avoid a potential confrontation with an aggressive animal. Now imagine that such dogs might be carrying a deadly disease, which, if you were bitten, might paralyse your body and unbalance your mind, before producing an inevitable agonising death. Rabies was and is such a disease. It was prevalent in Britain until its eradication in 1902, producing a regular death toll from its human form — hydrophobia. In this book, we return to the Victorian era when potentially rabid dogs lurked everywhere: at home, in the yard and on the street, in the press, in novels, in figures of speech, in popular memory, and in the imagination. The dread of rabies and hydrophobia was a constant presence and perpetual concern for the whole nineteenth century, and the threat of its re-emergence from imported animals continued throughout the twentieth century. The actual number of hydrophobia deaths was very small: only 1,225 were recorded between 1837 and 1902. But Victorians had to worry about any dog bite they received, and there were many because of the sheer number of stray and wild dogs around.1

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. There are few histories of rabies, but see J. Théodordiè, Histoire de la Rage: Cave Canem, Paris: Masson, 1986;

    Google Scholar 

  2. L. Wilkinson, ‘History’, in A. C. Jackson and W. H. Wunner, eds, Rabies, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002, 1–22.

    Google Scholar 

  3. M. Worboys, ‘Vaccines: Conquering Untreatable Diseases’, British Medical Journal, 2007, 334(suppl_1): 19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. C. E. Rosenberg, ‘Framing Disease: Illness, Society and History’, in C. E. Rosenberg, and J. Golden, eds, Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992, xiii-xxvi;

    Google Scholar 

  5. M. Worboys, Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865–1900, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 8–14;

    Google Scholar 

  6. C. E. Rosenberg, ‘What is disease? In Memory of Owsei Temkin’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2003, 77: 491–505.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Up to date information can be found on the websites of the World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/topics/rabies/en/ and the European Commission. Also see M. J. Warrell and D. A. Warrell, ‘Rabies and Other Lyssavirus Diseases’, Lancet, 2004, 363: 959–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. A. R. Fooks, D. H. Roberts, M. Lynch, P. Hersteinsson and H. Runolfsson, ‘Rabies in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland’ in A. A. King, A. R. Fooks, M. Aubert and A. I. Wandeler, eds, Historical Perspective of Rabies in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, Paris: l’Organisation mondiale de la santé animale (OIE), 2004.

    Google Scholar 

  9. L. Wilkinson, Animals and Disease: An Introduction to the History of Comparative Medicine, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1992;

    Google Scholar 

  10. A. Hardy, ‘Animals, Disease and Man: Making Connections’, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 2003, 46: 200–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. J. H. Bell, E. Fee and T. M. Brown, ‘Anthrax and the Wool Trade’, American Journal of Public Health, 2002, 92: 754–57;

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. L. Wilkinson, ‘Glanders: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine in Pursuit of a Contagious Disease’, Medical History, 1981, 25: 363–82; Psittacosis, which can cause severe pneumonia, is caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci and is caught by pet shop owners and bird fanciers.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. A. Hardy, ‘Pioneers in the Victorian Provinces: Veterinarians, Public Health and the Urban Animal Economy’, Urban History, 2002, 29: 372–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. H. Koprowski and S. A. Plotkin, eds, World’s Debt to Pasteur: Proceedings of a Centennial Symposium Commemorating the First Rabies Vaccination, New York, NY: A. R. Liss, 1985, 141–218.

    Google Scholar 

  15. M. Brock, The Great Reform Act, London: Hutchinson, 1973.

    Google Scholar 

  16. J. K. Walton, ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen: The Conflict Over Rabies in Late Victorian England’, Social History, 1979, 13: 219–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Our inspiration and exemplar for this approach is, of course, Roy Porter, especially: R. Porter and G. S. Rousseau, Gout: The Patrician Malady, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  18. K. Thomas, Man and the Natural World: A History of Modern Sensibility, London: Allen Lane, 1983.

    Google Scholar 

  19. H. Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Darwin Correspondence Online, Letters: 1211, 4 February 1849; 1904, 17–18 June 1856; 3394, 18 January 1862; 3792, 3 November 1862; George Eliot, Mill on the Floss, Penguin Classics, 1992. First published in 1860. Ch 12 and

    Google Scholar 

  21. Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds, Ch. 57, London: Chapman and Hall, 1873.

    Google Scholar 

  22. J. Burt, ‘The Illumination of the Animal Kingdom: The Role of Light and Electricity in Animal Representation’, Society and Animals, 2001, 9: 203. Also see:

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Erica Fudge, Animal, London: Reaktion Books, 2006.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Copyright information

© 2007 Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Pemberton, N., Worboys, M. (2007). Introduction. In: Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_1

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-35998-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-58954-4

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics