Invention of Hysteria Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salp�tri�re

ISBN-10: 0262541807

ISBN-13: 9780262541800

Edition: 2004

Authors: Georges Didi-Huberman, Alisa Hartz

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In this classic of French cultural studies, Georges Didi-Huberman traces the intimate and reciprocal relationship between the disciplines of psychiatry and photography in the late nineteenth century. Focusing on the immense photographic output of the Salpetriere hospital, the notorious Parisian asylum for insane and incurable women, Didi-Huberman shows the crucial role played by photography in the invention of the category of hysteria. Under the direction of the medical teacher and clinician Jean-Martin Charcot, the inmates of Salpetriere identified as hysterics were methodically photographed, providing skeptical colleagues with visual proof of hysteria's specific form. These images, many of which appear in this book, provided the materials for the multivolume album Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere. As Didi-Huberman shows, these photographs were far from simply objective documentation. The subjects were required to portray their hysterical "type"--they performed their own hysteria. Bribed by the special status they enjoyed in the purgatory of experimentation and threatened with transfer back to the inferno of the incurables, the women patiently posed for the photographs and submitted to presentations of hysterical attacks before the crowds that gathered for Charcot's "Tuesday Lectures." Charcot did not stop at voyeuristic observation. Through techniques such as hypnosis, electroshock therapy, and genital manipulation, he instigated the hysterical symptoms in his patients, eventually giving rise to hatred and resistance on their part. Didi-Huberman follows this path from complicity to antipathy in one of Charcot's favorite "cases," that of Augustine, whose image crops up again and again in the Iconographie. Augustine's virtuosic performance of hysteria ultimately became one of self-sacrifice, seen in pictures of ecstasy, crucifixion, and silent cries.
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Book details

List price: $33.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 9/17/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 385
Size: 7.00" wide x 10.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Georges Didi-Huberman is professor at the �cole des hautes �tudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He is the author of more than thirty books on the history and theory of images, including Images in Spite of All, published by the University of Chicago Press.

Principal Works Cited
Spectacular Evidence
Clinical Knowledge
Legends of Photography
A Thousand Forms, in None
Charming Augustine
Attacks and Exposures
Repetitions, Rehearsals, Staging
The "Living Pathological Museum"
Charcot's Clinical Lectures
Preface to the Photographic Journal of the Hospitals of Paris
Preface to the Iconographie photographique de la Salpetiere (vol.I)
Preface to the Iconographie photographique de la Salpetiere (vol.II)
The Photographic Platform, Headrest, and Gallows
The "Observation" and the Photograph at the Salpetiere
The "Photographic Card" at the Salpetiere
Technique of Forensic Photography
The Portrait's Veil, the Aura
The "Auracular" Self-Portrait
The Aura Hysterica (Augustine)
Explanation of the Synoptic Table of the Great Hysterical Attack
The "Scintillating Scotoma"
Cure or Experimentation?
Gesture and Expression: Celebral Automatism
A Tableau Vivant of Cataleptics
Provoqued Deliria: Augustine's Account
Theatrical Suggestion
Somnambular Writing
How Far Does Hypnotic Suggestion Go?
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