Welp. I just read what I hope is the most seriously disturbing thing I read all year.
Ever hear of Francis Burney? Probably not.
She was something of a writer in the late 1700s and early 1800s…and I wouldn’t be reading her work either, probably, if I’d been able to sell back all my college textbooks. But I could not. So I’ve been looking through my giant Norton anthologies–this one encompassing “The Restoration and The Eighteenth Century” in British literature–to see if there’s anything worthwhile in the 1000s of pages in those books that they didn’t address in my actual classes.
Cue Ms. Francis. And her journals, which she kept between her other writings. And where she wrote in fairly gruesome detail about undergoing a surgery which, back in her day, had to be done without anesthetics or sedation–bad enough, but add to that the fact that she was sneaking around her husband to have this surgery because she knew how bad it would be, and didn’t think he could handle the idea of her going through with it…and also the fact that it took seven doctors and surgeons to subdue her and carry out the surgery…*shudder*
Omg. It was very upsetting to read…and I fully believe her when she wrote at the end of that episode that it had taken her three months to write those few pages, and that she had not been able to bring herself to edit or even read through what she’d written about it because it was so traumatic.
I’m pretty sure that, despite the upsetting sorts of things I like to read, this one will be hard to top, since the others will all be fiction.