"She's hysterical." For centuries, the term "hysteria" has been used by physicians and laymen to diagnose and dismiss the extreme emotionality and mysterious physical disorders presumed to bedevil others—especially women. How did this medical concept assume its power? What cultural purposes does it serve? Why do different centuries and different circumstances produce different kinds of hysteria?
These are among the questions pursued in this absorbing, erudite reevaluation of the history of hysteria. The widely respected authors draw upon the insights of social and cultural history, rather than Freudian psychoanalysis, to examine the ways in which hysteria has been conceived by doctors and patients, writers and artists, in Europe and North America, from antiquity to the early years of the twentieth century. In so doing, they show that a history of hysteria is a history of how we understand the mind.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1993.