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Monday, 28 January 2013

Wherein Rosalind Russell Helps My PhD

I now at least have a valid reason for all those classic films I watch. One of them drew a connection for me over the weekend that I'd completely missed in my PhD research and gave me another hypothetical lead for for the cause of a character's disability.

Now, the disability strand of my thesis is only one chapter long but, really, I like to think it's the most important. That's possibly because it's the one I'm working on currently but we'll deal with that notion when I start on the next chapter. Anyway, in it I hypothesise about the rather vague descriptions of the disabilities of two Edmund Yates characters. It's all conjecture but the possibilities of hereditary problems throw up a few interesting angles for the chapter.

In a much-needed break from work I watched the first half of Sister Kenny, a 1940s biopic about an Australian nurse who found an effective treatment for infant paralysis brought on by polio (a review of the film will follow in a few days). A light pinged on in my brain. Although it should've, polio hadn't made it onto my original list of wacky and obscure diseases that could cause disability and yet the symptoms and results could match the character's very neatly. Polio was apparently identified in 1840 so it was recognisable - but not treatable - at the time Yates was writing.

So there we are. I've got a legitimate reason for indulging in one of my favourite pastimes. And if that indulgence includes Rosalind Russell who am I to argue?

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