Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness Illustrated Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0674031661
ISBN-10: 0674031660
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Do not waste much time on hysteria in men. Leave hysteria to women and children, advised a German doctor in 1887 in response to noted French physician Jean-Martin Charcot's notions that men could manifest hysteria. Micale, an associate professor of history and the history of medicine, University of Illinois–Urbana Champaign, has uncovered a wealth of information that rebuts much of the traditional medical and popular thinking about men and emotional distress. Micale charts nervous diseases in men from the 17th century until Freud. It was only in 1859, in a medical text by Pierre Briquet, that detailed attention was paid to male hysteria, and he noted that doctors didn't see the condition because they did not want to see it. Micale's canvas is broad and, while the book has a history of science slant, it is also a work of cultural criticism, charting the changes in acceptable masculine affect, as exhibited in works like Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Micale brings much fascinating information together with élan. 18 b&w photos. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

According to medical historian Micale, for millennia physicians have diagnosed hysteria from a great variety of symptoms, from heart palpitations to fainting to an inability to think clearly and more. Since the etymology of hysteria traces back to the Greek word for uterus, and since men do not have this reproductive item, it may seem safe to assume that men are incapable of presenting this particular nervous disorder. But not so. During some periods of history, the female specificity of hysteria was considered near gospel. During as many others, the term was applied to males, too. For reasons epistemological, political, and psychological, application was contingent upon the status of and attitudes toward female independence. In the great French revolutionary period, for instance, when women sought equal rights, the term was gender nonspecific. In the succeeding reign of Napoléon, distinguished by paternalism, the myth that men were exempt from psychic weakness was preferred. Overall, this is a pretty interesting study, a bit pedantic, perhaps, of how diagnostic specificity waxes and wanes with the tides of politics. --Donna Chavez

Product details

  • Hardcover : 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0674031660
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674031661
  • Product Dimensions : 5.82 x 1.22 x 8.54 inches
  • Item Weight : 1.27 pounds
  • Publisher : Harvard University Press; Illustrated Edition (November 30, 2008)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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