Hysteria The Disturbing History

ISBN-10: 019969298X
ISBN-13: 9780199692989
Edition: 2011
Authors: Andrew Scull
List price: $8.99
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Description: The nineteenth century seems to have been full of hysterical women - or so they were diagnosed. Where are they now? The very disease no longer exists. In this fascinating account, Andrew Scull tells the story of Hysteria - an illness that  More...

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Book details

List price: $8.99
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/13/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

The nineteenth century seems to have been full of hysterical women - or so they were diagnosed. Where are they now? The very disease no longer exists. In this fascinating account, Andrew Scull tells the story of Hysteria - an illness that disappeared not through medical endeavour, but through growing understanding and cultural change. More generally, it raises the question of how diseases are framed, and how conceptions of a disease change through history.The lurid history of hysteria makes fascinating reading. Charcot's clinics showed off flamboyantly 'hysterical' patients taking on sexualized poses, and among the visiting professionals was one Sigmund Freud. Scull discusses the origins of the idea of hysteria, the development of a neurological approach by John Sydenham and others, hysteria as a fashionable condition, and its growth from the 17th century. Some regarded it as a peculiarly English malady, 'the natural concomitant of England'sgreater civilization and refinement'. Women were the majority of patients, and the illness became associated with female biology, resulting in some gruesome 'treatments'. Charcot and Freud were key practitioners defining the nature of the illness. But curiously, the illness seemed to swap gender duringthe First World War when male hysterics frequently suffering from shell shock were also subjected to brutal 'treatments'. Subsequently, the 'disease' declined and eventually disappeared, at least in professional circles, though attenuated elements remain, reclassified for instance as post-traumatic stress disorder.Hysteria: the biography is part of the Oxford series, Biographies of Diseases, edited by William and Helen Bynum. In each individual volume an expert historian or clinician tells the story of a particular disease or condition throughout history - not only in terms of growing medical understanding of its nature and cure, but also shifting social and cultural attitudes, and changes in the meaning of the name of the disease itself.

Andrew Scull was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He obtained his B.A. with first-class honors from Balliol College at the University of Oxford in politics, philosophy, and economics, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University. From 1976 to 1977, he was a postdoctoral fellow in medical history at University College London. He has held faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of California, San Diego, where he has been Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies since 1994.Among others, he has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, and he has served as director of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on "Madness and Society." From 1992 to 1993, he was president of the Society for the Social History of Medicine.Scull's work has been translated into Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. He has published more than 100 articles in leading journals in law, psychiatry, sociology, medical history, social history, neurology, and medicine. His many books include Decarceration (1977, 2nd ed. 1984); Museums of Madness: The Social Organization of Insanity in Nineteenth Century England (1979); The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain, 1700-1900 (1993); Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine (2005); and Hysteria (2009).

Prologue: Suffocation of the mother
Mysteria
Neurologie
An English malady?
Reflexly mad
American Nervousness
A hysterical circus
Freudian hysterics
The wounds of war
L'hysterie morte?
Further Reading

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