As I do not have a picture of a person suffering from syphilis I just add these ones from sick grapes and
apples and hope they will do the trick!
You can also listen to the summary of the book:AMALIA’STALE
and check the vocabulary on this list (English/Deutsch/italiano)AMALIAVOCABULARY
I’ve also prepared an exercise about the disease with answers which you can drag from the right hand
side to the correct question on the left. Correct it online!http://www.langedi49.ch/SYPHILIS.htm
As Klausbernd analysed on his blog the question of how ugliness came into culture and what
it stood for, according to the various periods of literature, the book „AMALIA’S TALE” by David I. Kertzer,
which I have read some time ago, came into my mind.
SUMMARY OF THE BOOK
The main character in the book is Amalia Bagnacavalli from Vergato, a village in the hills near Bologna,
Italy. Her tragedy happens towards the end of the 19th century. Amalia is an illiterate peasant woman who
becomes a wet- nurse of an abandoned infant from the foundling home in Bologna. Taking in those children
is an old tradition in the mountain communities gives them a little bit of money.
In that period it was not allowed to women out-of-wedlock to raise children. Unfortunately, however,
Amalia catches syphilis from the baby Paola who dies soon. Not only does this infant die but she loses also
her own daughter and her husband also gets it and they suffer from it all for years and years. Within short
many other wet nurses or family members are mottled and end in the same way.
Despite this tragedy, Amalia fights for about ten years for her rights against the foundling home, the medical,
aristocratic and political establishment which is afraid of losing its reputation.( The foundling home does not
accept the early signs such as blindness ad spinal deformity.) with the help of a young, ambitious and greedy
lawyer, Barbieri, who in the end wins the case and becomes rich,whereas Amalia remains poor and destroyed
by all her losses.
On page 141 in the book I read also about an emblematic case in Genoa in which a wet-nurse is informed by
her rural town doctor that she has syphilitic sore on her breast and to give the baby back, but the foundling
home doctor insists that the baby is healthy and sends it to another wet-nurse, Domenica, who then also
contacts the illness and dies leaving behind a husband and ten children!
Who or what is ugly according to you ? A newborn baby with syphilis or a lawyer who manages the money
due to the victim in a way that he himself becomes wealthy whereas the victim remains poor?
With whom is ugliness if, like in the case of Amalia, Domenica
and many others, doctors and authorities try to hide the truth
and without much hesitation sacrifice other people’s lives?