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On Hysteria, On Hysteria, The Invention of a Medical. Category between 1670 and 1820, sa b i n e a r n au d. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London. Sabine Arnaud is a Max Planck Research Group Director at the Max Planck Institute. for the History of Science in Berlin ,The University of Chicago Press Chicago 60637. The University of Chicago Press Ltd London, 2015 by The University of Chicago.
All rights reserved Published 2015 ,Printed in the United States of America. 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 1 2 3 4 5,isbn 13 978 0 226 27554 3 cloth . isbn 13 978 0 226 27568 0 e book ,doi 10 7208 chicago 9780226275680 001 0001. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. Arnaud Sabine author , Invention de I hyst rie au temps des Lumi res 1670 1820 English . On hysteria the invention of a medical category between 1670 and 1820 Sabine. pages cm, Includes bibliographical references and index .
isbn 978 0 226 27554 3 cloth alk paper isbn 978 0 226 27568 0 e book . 1 Hysteria History 2 Hysteria France History 18th century . 3 Hysteria Early works to 1800 4 Hysteria Social aspects 5 Hysteria in. literature I Title , rc532 a7613 2015, 616 85 24 dc23. 2014049382, This paper meets the requirements of ansi niso z39 48 1992 Permanence of. For Daniel Carter, Contents, Preface ix, Introduction 1. 1 Names and Uses of a Diagnosis 9, The Establishment of Hysteria as a Medical Category 9. An Intermingling of Terms 14, First Occurrences of the Term Hysteria 22.
Vaporous Affection and Social Class 30, Encounters between Medical and Religious Spheres 41. 2 In Search of Metaphors Figuring What Cannot Be De ned 51. A Catalog of Images Proteus the Chameleon and the Hydra 54. Repeated Quotations Divergent Readings 63, 3 The Writing of a Pathology and Practices of Dissemination 77. Dialogue 79, Autobiography 94, Fictional Correspondence 111. The Epistolary Consultation 119, Anecdotes 129, 4 Code Truth or Ruse The Vapors in the Republic of Letters 136. Well Timed Fits 137, The Practice of Vapors 140, The Force of the Imagination 148.
5 Relating Fits and Creating Enigmas The Role of Narrative 163. Bodies Awaiting Exegesis 163, The Rise of Medical Narrative 176. In the Shadow of a Gothic Tale 181, Traps and Countertraps 188. The Construction of Secrets 195, 6 Adopting Roles and Rede ning Medicine 207. To Mystify or to Demystify Establishing the Role of the Therapist 209. Magnetism Parodies and Mysti cation , The Art of Framing a Therapeutic Practice 219. Strategies of Legitimation and De nitions of the Patient to Come 225. Investing in Women 240, Conclusion 253, Acknowledgments 261.
Bibliography 299, Preface, The words hysteria and hysteric have become entrenched in today s ev . eryday discourse immediately calling to mind spectacular manifestations. such as convulsions cries tears excessive laughter and catalepsy Over the. centuries these words have been used to name an exacerbated body untimely. joy imminent twitches the vertigo of desire Identi ed with sublime lan. or derisory gestures they alternately provoke fascination and condescen . sion and seem destined to inhabit a world of ction In the web of images . disheveled women and artists yearning for spectacle cohabit with mystics in. search of transcendence and those distraught by mirage A whole gamut of. oppositions emerges the private and the public the intimate and the social . the interior and the codi ed the singular and the epidemic the expressive. and the pathological susceptibility and alienation . The category of hysteria has a long history in Europe 1 dating back well. before psychoanalysis to which it later became attached At the end of the six . teenth century a number of theorizations emerged to interpret unexplained. physiological phenomena in terms of hysteric pathology A few physicians at . tempted to rescue women from accusations of demonic possession and from. persecution by church and state Their approach to the body developed over. the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries at a time when a new concern was. emerging the elaboration of diagnoses and their classi cation into nosolo . gies There was talk of vapors suffocation of the womb ts of the mother . uterine affections and hysteric and hypochondriac passions Frequent medi . cal reformulations the employment of metaphors and literary and religious. references served as opportunities to multiply the signi cations and connota . tions of the term hysteria They also contributed to the creation of a whole. set of genres of medical writing suited to disseminating conceptions about. x p r e fac e, the pathology among the aristocracy and people of letters Descriptions of. hysteric disorders pervaded novels plays pamphlets and correspondence . The diagnosis of hysteria was even used to describe political life including. the crises of the Convulsionaries and the revolutionaries By 1820 when this. book s journey ends the term hysteria had taken rm hold with two ap . proaches predominating One determined hysteria as a woman s pathology. originating in the genital organs and sexuality the other rarer approach situ . ated its origin within the brain It would take all the skill of psychoanalysis. to reorient this rst dissemination of explanations and replace them with a. model of a transfer neurosis provoked by repressed con icts . Over the last twenty years despite impressive developments in the medi . cal humanities the exchange between medical practitioners and those who. attempt to think about medical practices from the outside has remained. problematic with con icts of authority only aggravating the debate Indeed . if ever a topic was destined to instigate such quarrels it is hysteria as it was. constructed in the 1970s The aim of this book is to displace such frameworks. for hysteria Hysteria is not viewed here as a symbol of masculine oppres . sion 2 neither is the point to posit a historical progression making Mesmer. and Puys gur forerunners of psychoanalysis This book does not examine. efforts made to cure hysteria or otherwise attempt to explain hysteria from. the viewpoint of the history of medical knowledge Instead it examines the. history of a category in order to trace the ways that enunciations of medical. knowledge operated between 1670 and 1820 In short hysteria is studied not. as an illness but as an example , My aim here is to lay out a series of discursive practices that played a. major role in the pathology s construction Because its ts and names were. so varied and because doctors constructed it as a pathology particularly dif . cult to de ne studying hysteria allows us to explore a wide range of issues . 1 It offers a prime opportunity to isolate the role played by language in the. de nition of any medical category because of the importance of rhetoric ref . erences citations and misunderstandings in its construction 2 It enables. attention to a whole spectrum of written medical genres dialogue autobi . ography correspondence narrative polemic that have been forgotten by. a history of medicine interested in the nineteenth century pursuit of objec . tivity That interest has led historians readings of the eighteenth century to. prioritize what would be retained in later conceptualizations of knowledge . nosologies and the identi cation of symptoms at the patient s bedside In. contrast this book reads the eighteenth century in the broad scope of its. pursuits keeping in mind that priorities constantly change with time The. contemporary renewal of interest in the autobiographical narratives of pa . p r e fac e xi, tients and doctors illustrates this point 3 Hysteria became a category in. a century marked by the coining of categories as a result of the ambitious. enterprises of Linnaeus and Sauvages among others As such it exempli es. a larger movement moving from a dozen names to just one and along with. these shifting appellations between different understandings and de nitions. of the sick body 4 The category of hysteria underwent reversals in line with. political and religious history that no other category did at the time opening. up our view onto the close connections between epistemology and politics . 5 Hysteria was pictured as a pathology resulting from emerging modernity . so that men of letters and not only doctors accorded it great importance . another reason for the category s success Before and after the French Revo . lution many such writers used the pathology to frame an understanding of. their time 6 The conceptualization of hysteria was the scene of a reciprocal. construction of sexual difference and a pathology 7 Finally the category of. hysteria was an ideal means for doctors to draw close to the aristocracy and. thereby try to carve out a place for themselves in relation to the higher class . The other important categories at the time such as plague or venereal dis . ease lent themselves far less easily to this task If smallpox was also a subject. of literary medical writings it did not provide a link with sensibility and thus. limited the debate to the value of therapeutic invention and its scienti c pur . pose Writings on hysteria in contrast opened up a constellation of imagin . ings caricatures medical truths and tools for the building of knowledge that. spanned all the discrepancies of observations and references . Introduction, At the end of the eighteenth century Fran ois Boissier de Sauvages William.
Cullen Philippe Pinel and Jean Baptiste Louyer Villermay assimilated into. the single category of hysteria a host of previously known pathologies uterine. furors suffocation of the womb ts of the mother vapors and hysterical and. hypochondriac passions The very use of the term hysteria however led. to radical changes in how the various symptoms and diagnoses were viewed . Physicians secured the authority of the category by inscribing it within a lon . ger tradition of writing But it was neither the name of the new category nor. its theorization nor the kinds of patients it treated nor even its ideological. context that enabled such a rereading What then made it possible to view. dozens of different diagnoses as variants of a single pathology hysteria My. hypothesis is that a long process of rewriting and negotiation over the de . nition of these diagnoses enabled this retrospective assimilation which was. driven by enormously diverse political and epistemological stakes That pro . cess was anything but a linear or untroubled one the category of hysteria was. af rmed through a series of con icting identi cations equivocations mis . interpretations and oversights , This study attempts to untangle the trajectories associations and rewrit . ings that developed in the creation of a new medical category It analyzes. how the term hysteria spread unsystematically yet continued to surface. as a tool for thought across medical literary and political discourses It also. pursues the use of the term in a constellation of different images common . places roles and caricatures The archival sources reveal for example that. the discrediting of patients and of the diagnosis itself did not occur after its. theorization but rather participated in its construction They further indicate. that the disorders were also constructed as a source of fascination Medi . 2 introduction, cal theorizations espoused recycled and displaced these discourses at times. borrowing from their imagery to support their own positions By studying. the construction of hysteria it will be possible to examine the role played by. the forms of its enunciation which de ned the category and in turn trans . formed the semantic constructions surrounding it , In reading the texts of physicians patients writers and philosophers. about hysteria my purpose is to examine how at a certain moment it be . came necessary to identify gestures and read them as symptoms of a pathol . ogy what were the stakes that led a number of texts to aggregate around a. unique term and thus determine a pathology Several operations were re . quired naming describing a symptomatology narrating the experience of. ts inscribing symptoms within a tradition of pathologies possibly described. by ancient physicians The questions this book raises are these How is a pa . thology created 1 How is the perception of a diagnosis renewed at particular. moments in time and how does this change who is considered to be af icted . While interest in the pathology increased throughout the eighteenth century . questionings speci c to their times and political contexts prompted the con . ception of new aspects of the pathology the crisis of the Convulsionaries in. the 1730s the lettered society of the salon in the 1750s and 1760s in the late. 1780s the French Revolution and the illness of George III in England and. in the 1790s the birth of a new nation in France In the heart of the eigh . teenth century the category of hysteria suddenly became a prominent topic. in medical discourse leading different kinds of patients to be identi ed and. understood through the use of this category , Eighteenth century medical knowledge has often been perceived as a se . ries of wavering starts toward the observation of the body With some note . worthy exceptions medical texts of the time have been left aside by historians. of science in the name of an epistemological break that divides prescienti c. medicine from the quest for objectivity that has since taken shape 2 But in. fact physicians of the eighteenth century saw their role as extending well. beyond the cure Pathologies offered an opportunity to speak about other. things the nature of human being sexual difference national differences so . cial class modernity and ways of life Physicians entered into a dialogue with. philosophers in discussing for example the relationship between body and. mind During the French Revolution physicians began to re ect on the role. they played in supporting the health of the nation Thus eighteenth century. medical knowledge was not an isolated eld Until the publication of Robert. James s dictionary in the 1740s medical terms could be found only in univer . sal dictionaries 3 Additionally patients stayed at home rather than entering. the hospital space and thus did not fall exclusively under the medical gaze .


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