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Title: The Poetics of Pathology: Hysteria from Neurology to Psychology
Authors: Mimran, Masha
Advisors: Heller-Roazen, Daniel
DiBattista, Maria
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: Charcot
Madame Bovary
Subjects: Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The dissertation investigates the reallocation of Jean-Martin Charcot's diagnosis of hysteria from neurological inquiries into psychological interpretations. The project addresses the cross-pollination between works of fiction and medical treatises in the nineteenth-century and is particularly interested in the assimilation of fictional accounts of hysteria by the sciences. Looking at the influence of fiction in medical treatises, the dissertation enters into a dialogue with innovative criticism that engages in dynamic ways the cross-pollination between the two disciplines: Janet Beizer's Ventriloquized Bodies (1993), Jacqueline Carroy's Les personalités doubles et multiples: Entre science et fiction (1993), Micale's The Mind of Modernism (2004), and Asti Hustvedt's Medical Muses (2011). As a project that is equally interested in the historical and literary trajectories of the diagnosis of hysteria, the dissertation situates itself at the juncture of literary criticism, medical and cultural history, medical philosophy, and art criticism. In Chapter One, "The Diagnostic Imagination: The Wonderings of Hysteria in Charcot's Artistic and Scientific Laboratories," I look at how the use of photography, the revival of Mesmerian hypnotic techniques, and the grande attaque hystérique defined Charcot's neurological diagnosis, but also fueled the literary and the medical imagination. Chapter Two, "Portraits of the Medical Case: Emma's Hysteria and Charcotian Landscapes," explores the role of painting and painterly discourses in Charcot's readings of hystero-epileptic attacks and in Charles Richet's depiction of psychological interpretations of hysteria. In Chapter Three, "Poetic Characterologies: Medical Appropriations of the Case of Emma and the Hysterical Temperament," I show how Richet's reading of hysterical symptoms in fictional characters, particularly in Flaubert's Emma, departs from neurological approaches to hysteria. In Chapter Four "L'envers de l'Hypnose in the Epic of Diagnosis: Janet's Psychological Laboratories," I explore how "l'hystérique de roman," a character inspired by the sciences, finds herself transposed into the medical case. I argue that while Charcot's hypnosis revealed a tableau of physiological symptoms in the hysteric patient, it also opened up the path to psychological inquiries. I show how, through hypnosis and theories on dédoublements, Pierre Janet's treatises reveal the psychological ramifications of the Charcotian model of hysteria that will pave the way to psychoanalysis.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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