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Invention of Hysteria : Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriere - Georges Didi-Huberman

Invention of Hysteria

Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriere

Paperback Published: 17th September 2004
ISBN: 9780262541800
Number Of Pages: 385
For Ages: 18+ years old

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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.

Industry Reviews

"This poetic account of the relationship between photography and madness will interest any student of art or mental health, for seldom have these fields been so definitively intertwined." - Publishers Weekly

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Principal Works Citedp. ix
Argumentp. xi
Spectacular Evidence
Outbreaksp. 3
Clinical Knowledgep. 13
Legends of Photographyp. 29
A Thousand Forms, in Nonep. 67
Charming Augustine
Aurasp. 85
Attacks and Exposuresp. 115
Repetitions, Rehearsals, Stagingp. 175
The "Living Pathological Museum"p. 281
Charcot's Clinical Lecturesp. 281
Consultationp. 282
Preface to the Photographic Journal of the Hospitals of Parisp. 283
Preface to the Iconographie photographique de la Salpetiere (vol.I)
Preface to the Iconographie photographique de la Salpetiere (vol.II)p. 284
The Photographic Platform, Headrest, and Gallowsp. 285
The "Observation" and the Photograph at the Salpetierep. 286
The "Photographic Card" at the Salpetierep. 286
Technique of Forensic Photographyp. 287
The Portrait's Veil, the Aurap. 289
The "Auracular" Self-Portraitp. 290
The Aura Hysterica (Augustine)p. 291
Explanation of the Synoptic Table of the Great Hysterical Attackp. 291
The "Scintillating Scotoma"p. 292
Cure or Experimentation?p. 293
Gesture and Expression: Celebral Automatismp. 293
A Tableau Vivant of Catalepticsp. 294
Provoqued Deliria: Augustine's Accountp. 295
Theatrical Suggestionp. 297
Somnambular Writingp. 298
How Far Does Hypnotic Suggestion Go?p. 299
Notesp. 303
Bibliographyp. 349
Indexp. 369
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262541800
ISBN-10: 0262541807
Series: The MIT Press
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 385
Published: 17th September 2004
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 25.4 x 17.8  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.82