In his Essay on the Sea-Scurvy of 1753, Anthony Addington mapped out the horrific symptoms of the disease: ‘a low unequal Pulse … a pale-brown or livid Complexion, a Weakness and Swelling or sometimes Wasting of the Legs, a Difficulty in walking, acute transient Pains, frequent Bleedings at the Nose, stinking Breath, putrid Gums, loose Teeth, ill-condition’d Ulcers, and rotten Bones’.
In his engaging new book, the historian Andrew Lambert adds a psychological symptom to Addington’s litany of miseries. Starved of vitamin C and amino acids, he explains, the sufferer is projected into a world of heightened perception. Tastes, flavours and smells become intense. As the body crumples, the