Romantic Consumption: The Paradox of Fashionable Breath

Clark Lawlor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

27 Downloads (Pure)


The tragic disease of consumption/tuberculosis is, perhaps notoriously, a central disease of literary and artistic international Romanticism, as well as having a profound influence in wider society. Lawlor’s essay analyses the role that breath played in this phenomenon: how could breath and breathlessness possibly contribute to the valorisation of such a horrible illness? Using literary and medical works, this analysis demonstrates that the ‘reality’ (albeit variable) of consumptive breath was often overridden, overwritten, or reframed, by cultural discourses which included religious and classical concepts of breath, new and old medical models, gender and social rank.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Life of Breath in Literature, Culture and Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationClassical to Contemporary
EditorsDavid Fuller, Corinne Saunders, Jane Macnaughton
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030744434
ISBN (Print)9783030744427, 9783030744458
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine
ISSN (Print)2634-6435
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6443


Dive into the research topics of 'Romantic Consumption: The Paradox of Fashionable Breath'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this