Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Rum ManiacsAlcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew Warner Osborn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226099897

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226099927.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Discovering Delirium Tremens

Discovering Delirium Tremens

(p.45) Two Discovering Delirium Tremens
Rum Maniacs

Matthew Warner Osborn

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 describes why delirium tremens became a topic of intense medical interest to American physicians soon after it was first described in 1813. While previously physicians had little interest in treating inebriates, after the delirium tremens diagnosis became widely adopted, drunkards were increasingly put into hospital beds, treated, and studied in a clinical setting. The chapter attributes the widespread adoption of the delirium tremens diagnosis to three main developments. First, the delirium tremens diagnosis derived from developments in American medical education, especially the influence of French physiology and the practice of pathological anatomy. Second, the language and imagery from physicians’ case histories depended on popular romanticism, and especially popular fascination with hallucinations evident in Philadelphia’s popular theater and magic lantern shows. And third, it illustrates how physicians’ case histories linked the disease with concerns about masculine achievement in the context of the profound economic upheaval following the Panic of 1819.

Keywords:   Delirium Tremens, Anatomy, Physiology, Medical education, Hallucinations, Magic Lantern

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.