chapter  12
Death and birth of a legend
Pages 12

Flora Tristan died at Bordeaux on 14 November 1844, aged 41. The notes in her diary indicate that she had been ill for some time, and from the beginning of July the symptoms were consistent: headaches, fever, stomach pains, and what she variously described as cholerine, diarrhoea, or dysentery. The doctor she consulted at Marseille late in July blamed the bad air, so she left the town hurriedly. But it was another month before she obtained any real relief, when the homeopathic doctor at Montpellier prescribed arsenic and sulphur.1 Tristan took a few days’ rest and pronounced herself cured, but she was still unable to eat properly and had by no means regained her full strength. She arrived in Bordeaux on 24 September, and was taken ill suddenly the following day. Dr Mabit diagnosed a ‘cerebral congestion’, and treatment seemed to be successful. By 26 September the local newspapers were declaring her out of danger, but in fact she was never to leave her sick bed again.2