Mark S. Micale
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Over the course of several centuries, Western masculinity has successfully established itself as the voice of reason, knowledge, and sanity - he basis for patriarchal rule - in the face of massive testimony to the contrary. This book boldly challenges this triumphant vision of the stable and secure male by examining the central role played by modern science and medicine in constructing and sustaining it.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-04098-4
    Subjects: History, Health Sciences, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  4. Note on Usage
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  5. PROLOGUE. Hysteria: The Male Malady
    (pp. 1-7)

    IN JOHN HUSTON’S 1962 filmFreud: The Secret Passion, with a screenplay by Jean-Paul Sartre, the young Sigmund Freud (played by Montgomery Clift) appears in Paris during the middle of the 1880s. In a dramatic scene near the beginning of the film, Freud is observing Jean-Martin Charcot, then the most celebrated physician in France, as Charcot demonstrates his new theories of hysteria and hypnosis. Viewers sense at once that Huston has modeled his scene on one of the best-known representations of European science in the nineteenth century, André Brouillet’s colossal paintingA Clinical Lesson at the Salpêtrière, which hung in...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Hysterick Women and Hypochondriack Men
    (pp. 8-48)

    AN EGYPTIAN MEDICAL PAPYRUS dating from around 1900 b.c., one of the oldest surviving documents known to medical history, records a series of curious behavioral disturbances in adult women. As the ancient Egyptians interpreted it, the cause of these abnormalities was the movement of the uterus, which they believed to be an autonomous, free-floating organism that could move upward from its normal pelvic position. Such a dislocation, they reasoned, applied pressure on the diaphragm and gave rise to a battery of bizarre physical and mental symptoms. Egyptian doctors developed an array of medications to entice the errant womb back down...

  7. CHAPTER 2 The Great Victorian Eclipse
    (pp. 49-116)

    A GREAT WAVE of amnesia regarding the nervous disorders descended upon European medicine around 1800. During the three-quarters of a century running from 1790 to 1860, medical science and practice were aggressively pressed into the service of discovering and maintaining a regime of difference between the sexes. A new drive to base the putatively pervasive differences between the sexes in nature developed, and biomedical knowledge that emphasized the contrasts and oppositions between men and women came to the fore. Conversely, anything that called into question the new gender dichotomies—theories of causation, clinical practices, diagnostic categories—was officially ignored, discredited,...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Charcot and La Grande Hystérie Masculine
    (pp. 117-161)

    EUROPE DURING THE LAST QUARTER of the nineteenth century produced three gifted and enormously productive scientific intellectuals who devoted a substantial part of their lifework to an in-depth and systematic study of hysteria: Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Janet, and Sigmund Freud. Charcot led the way, and in the process he ushered in the golden age of what he liked to call “the great neurosis.”¹

    A native Parisian, Charcot (1825–1893) rose from a humble family of artisans to the apex of the French medical elite.² His teachers recognized his abilities and industry early on, and as a result his career advanced...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Male Hysteria at the Fin de Siècle
    (pp. 162-227)

    FROM TODAY’S VIEWPOINT, the 1880s and 1890s, both in Britain and on the European continent, seem heroic and superhuman, “an accumulation of steam, cast-iron, and self-confidence.”¹ Europe’s imperial reach, encompassing nearly the entirety of the African continent, south Asia, and several island areas, was at its greatest. The spread of modern, mechanized, industrialized economies effectively created the first global economic network. Western civilization had gained an unprecedented degree of mastery over the natural environment. The new ideologies of race science, eugenics, and Social Darwinism posited the manifest superiority of the European West, especially its Anglo-Saxon middle classes, over all other...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Freud and the Origins of Psychoanalysis
    (pp. 228-275)

    FREUDIAN PSYCHOANALYSIS, the most influential set of psychological ideas in the twentieth century, began as a theory of and therapy for hysterical neurosis. Today Freud is associated with hysteria more closely than any other figure in medicine, so much so that some critics believe that with the lessening of the influence of psychoanalysis in the past few decades has come the disappearance of hysteria as a form of psychopathology. The role of psychoanalysis in the history of hysteria is in fact open to interpretation, and the place of hysteria in Freud’s work has still not been fully reconstructed. In particular,...

  11. CONCLUSION. Men and the Fictions of Medicine
    (pp. 276-284)

    IN THE WHOLE HISTORY of Western philosophy, no virtue has been valued more highly than self-knowledge. Two thousand years ago, the sun god Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi urged its supplicants to “know thyself.” Socrates famously condemned the unexamined life as not worth living, and Plato considered insight into the self the means to leading the good life. With the principle ofcogito ergo sum, René Descartes theorized that through reflection on our consciousness we can know our own minds with greater certainty than we can know anything else. In a similar vein, Immanuel Kant claimed that self-deception—what he called...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 287-348)
  13. Index
    (pp. 349-366)