This book tells the story of the groundbreaking exhibition "The Romantic Disease" by artist Anna Dumitriu takes the form of an artistic investigation into mankind’s strange relationship with the so-called ‘Romantic Disease’ Tuberculosis (TB) from early superstitions about the disease, through the development of antibiotics, to the latest research into whole genome sequencing of bacteria. Through juxtapositions between historical artefacts and stories woven by the artist around our changing beliefs, it throws our idea of knowledge into question.
Tuberculosis has been strongly linked to creativity due to its long association with art, literature and the Romantic Movement. It has even been linked to fashion and Lord Byron famously declared:
“How pale I look! – I should like, I think, to die of a consumption ... because then the women would all say, ‘see that poor Byron – how interesting he looks in dying!’”
The fight against TB is strongly linked to the science of microbiology and the development of antibiotics and vaccines. Even today the latest developments in whole genome sequencing of bacteria are focussed on understanding the disease better.