This preview shows page 133 - 135 out of 411 pages.
7In 1908, his work was republished as The Black Death of 1348 and 1349, in which Gasquet added a preface and introduction recounting the discovery of Yersinia pestiswith reference to the 1905 Indian Plague Research Commission‘s findings: The special commission appointed in 1905 to examine into this matter has established, by a series of experiments, that bubonic plague is due to the rat-flea, called pulex cheopis, which not only carries the plague germ from rat to rat, but is almost certainly the means by which it is communicated to man… As a suggestion to explain the rapid spread of ―The Great Pestilence‖ of 1348-9, these results of modern research are of interest and importance… the habitual dirt in which our ancestors lived, would have provided an ideal field for the indefinite multiplication of fleas, and possibly of other plague-bearing insects.8Gasquet‘s work remains chiefly recognised for its scholarly contribution as a general history of Black Death with a particular focus upon the pandemic‘simpact in England and especially upon the Catholic Church.9Importantly, it also stands as one of the earliest, if not theearliest, of plague histories, written by an historian as opposed to a medical doctor or scientist, to incorporate the bubonic paradigm into its interpretation of the Black Death.10Gasquet remarked in his introduction that the ‗story of the Great Pestilence of 1348-9 has never been fully told‘, and that hitherto, littleattention had been paid 6The Oxford English Dictionary Online shows that reference to plague as ‗bubonic‘ in the English language predates Yersin‘s discovery by perhaps two decades. See: ‗bubonic a (n.)‘, Oxford English Dictionary Online. URL: 7F. A. Gasquet, The Great Pestilence, London, Simkin Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1893, p. 80. 8Gasquet, 2ndedition, 1908, pp. viii-ix. 9Gasquet‘s central thesis was that the significant mortality rate amongst the clergy during the Black Death caused the decline of the Christian Church and the transition of Europe into a new age. See ibid. 10How strong his endorsement of the yersinial plague retrospective diagnosis is questionable however. See chapter five of this thesis, pp. 225-227.
135 to the Black Death despite the event being ‗one of the most important in the history of our country.‘11German medical historian Georg Sticker completed another important study in the same year as Gasquet‘s re-edited publication with a more expansive geographical and historical focus; not limiting its presentation and analysis of sources to the Black Death period.12Suddenly, volumes of historical studies were emerging, as if in reaction to Gasquet‘s identification of a gap in historiography. It is likely that this scholarly enthusiasm may have been partly heightened by the ongoing ‗third pandemic‘ which imbued Black Death historiography with a relevance to contemporary twentieth-century events. Thus, within twenty years of Gasquet‘s remark concerning the Black Death‘s lack of