Byron seems to write of illness in the hope that

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is divinely inspired. Byron seems to write of illness in the hope that certain aspects of the world won’t change, reflecting the fact that he lived through the progressive movement from romanticism to realism. Illness was initially viewed as “punishment,” and was associated with sickness of the soul o Mme. de Renal epitomizes the 19 th century outlook on illness when she frets over her son’s illness: “the struggles which lacerated her soul were all the more awful in that her fear was quite irrational. Julien found that the least argument irritated instead of soothed her. She saw in the illness the language of hell” (Stendhal 74). o “I confess I’m strongly prejudiced against the blind, one-eyed, deaf, dumb, legless, armless, hunch-backed, and so on. I’ve noticed there’s always some out link between a person’s outer appearance and his inner self, as though when a man loses a limb he loses some inner feeling as well” (Lermontov 58). Both Lermontov and Stendhal present illness as random and meaningless, in order to move away from the idea that illness was a result of divine punishment. Lermontov attempts to leave the idea of illness open, perhaps to allow a reevaluation of what constitutes illness, and a reevaluation of the underlying causes. o Perchorin endures mental illness, a Faustian nadrif, and consequently experiences a Byronic restlessness and love of conquest as an escape. Dr. Werner, on the other hand, accepts his own deformed foot and appears to be more emotionally stable than Pechorin, who has an inner deformity. o Stansilas, an innocent child, is struck with illness while Julien, a conniving social climber, enjoys perfect physical health. The 19 th century public relied heavily on outer appearance as an indication of inner health o Tocqueville noticed the loss of symbolic reference points can cause anxiety and shyness to grow in the public: “When authority in religious
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matters no longer exists any more than in political matters, men soon take fright at the sight of this boundless independence. This constant upheaval in everything brings disquiet and exhaustion. As everything in the domain of their intelligence is shifting, they crave at least for a firm and stable state in their material world. Being unable to recover their ancient beliefs, they find a ruler” (512 Tocqueville) o Marx argues for the poor, those who are most likely to show the toil of a hard life on their face, which could be interpreted as a sign of a malicious physiognomy. He argues that this disheveled outer appearance is the result of mistreatment from a bourgeois unable even to maintain the working class. o “His soul is too healthy and proud to squander the least thing on getting drunk” (46 Kierkegaard) A drunken outer appearance would reflect a sick individual; an outer illness reflects an inner corruption of the soul. This view of “healthy” relies on outer appearance as an indicator of inner vitality.
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