Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
On HysteriaThe Invention of a Medical Category between 1670 and 1820$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sabine Arnaud

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226275543

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226275680.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Relating Fits and Creating Enigmas

Relating Fits and Creating Enigmas

The Role of Narrative

(p.163) 5 Relating Fits and Creating Enigmas
On Hysteria

Sabine Arnaud

University of Chicago Press

The fifth chapter examines the increasing role, from the 1750s, of literary and medical narratives in inscribing physiological disorders into a coherent progression. In novels by Lennox, Godwin, and Diderot, the body’s manifestations appear as a code, a truth, or a manipulation, depending on the author’s specific narrative demands. They are presented as a language of the body, marking turning points in the progression of feelings, and function as a means to question the relationship between identity and representation. In narratively structured manuscript reports by correspondents of the Société Royale de Médecine and observations published in medical treatises, hysteria is often presented as a fascinating, at times a bewildering, pathology. Toward the end of the century, the observations increasingly become a place to see the pathology as a testament to the patient’s education, way of life, and emotions. Such narrative claims not only to identify the diagnosis, but also to make it intelligible, grounding the diagnosis in the patient’s past emotional and physiological experiences.

Keywords:   novel, medical observations, doctor patient relationship, patient correspondence, Société Royale de Médecine, Denis Diderot, William Godwin, Charlotte Lennox, Samuel-Auguste Tissot

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.