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The Knotted Subject
Author: Elisabeth Bronfen

ISBN: 9780691608372
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 490
Published: 16 June 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5
Description:


Surrealist writer Andre Breton praised hysteria for being the greatest poetic discovery of the nineteenth century, but many physicians have since viewed it as the "wastebasket of medicine," a psychosomatic state that defies attempts at definition and cure and that can be easily mistaken for other pathological conditions. In light of a resurgence of critical interest in hysteria, leading feminist scholar Elisabeth Bronfen reinvestigates medical writings and cultural performance to reveal the continued relevance of a disorder widely thought to be a romantic formulation of the past. Through a critical rereading, she develops a new concept of hysteria, one that challenges traditional gender-based theories linking it to dissatisfied feminine sexual desire. Bronfen turns instead to hysteria's traumatic causes, particularly the fear of violation, and shows how the conversion of psychic anguish into somatic symptoms can be interpreted today as the enactment of personal and cultural discontent.

Tracing the development of cultural formations of hysteria from the 1800s to the present, this book explores the writings of Freud, Charcot, and Janet to...

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