I read this at Angela Meyer's blog "Literary Minded". They are both excerpts from a book written by John Harvey Kellogg (as in Kelloggs Cornflakes and so on!), entitled Ladies Guide to Health and Disease.
"The reading of works of fiction is one of the most pernicious habits to
which a young lady can become devoted. When the habit is once thoroughly fixed,
it becomes as inveterate as the use of liquor or opium. The novel-devotee is as
much a slave as the opium-eater or the inebriate. The reading of fictitious
literature destroys the taste for sober, wholesome reading and imparts an
unhealthy stimulus to the mind, the effect of which is in the highest degree
‘We wish… to put ourself upon record as believing firmly that the practice of
novel reading is one of the greatest causes of uterine disease in young women.
There is no doubt that the influence of the mind upon the sexual organs and
functions is such that disease may be produced in this way… Reading of a
character to stimulate the emotions and rouse the passions may produce or
increase a tendency to uterine congestion, which may in turn give rise to a
great variety of maladies…’
Someone help me to remove my corsets immediately! I think I may faint! The knowledge that I shall never be with child as a result of my 'pernicious habit' of recklessly indulging in fiction is too much for my poor enfeebled womanly soul to bear.
I'm sorry, I can't do it. It's too hilarious. If I were married to you Mr Kelloggs, I would have scoured as many works of fiction as I could get my hands on, rather than run the risk of dying of boredom or consumption and never having my passions roused.
Your conflakes, however, do make excellent Honey Joys.