Thinking about women in literature…

I read in an article that, in large parts of Victorian England, women had higher death rates than men because of differences in the impact of tuberculosis, also known as consumption, the most common single cause of death at that time. I was also reminded of Mimi in La Boheme.


A wracking cough

Leaves her limp

Like wet washing on a line

Unable to fill

Her tissue paper


The hacking echoes

Through the dull cottonwool

Of her ears

Eyes water


She has to close them



As she gathers and coils her body

Ready for the next fit

Consumptove Victorians

Image found on


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