Insane, incurably insane
A physician in Massachusetts says, "I have seen a young lady with her table loaded with volumes of fictitious trash, poring, day after day and night after night, over highly wrought scenes and skillfully portrayed pictures of romance, until her cheeks grew pale, her eyes became wild and restless, and her mind wandered and was lost -- the light of intelligence passed behind a cloud and her soul was forever benighted. She was insane, incurably insane from reading novels."
Right on, sister.
Image: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Heidi reading." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1922. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/69691007-3315-bf84-e040-e00a18064a07
The quote is from a New England almanac, which I read, to my great delight, in Thomas Horrocks' Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Almanacs and Health Advice in Early America. University of MA Press: Amherst, 2008. As you might imagine given the fact that hardly anyone knew anything about how the human body really worked at the time, this book is hilarious.