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Download Hysteria : the disturbing history by Andrew Scull PDF

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By Andrew Scull

The 19th century turns out to were choked with hysterical girls - or so that they have been clinically determined. the place are they now? The very affliction now not exists. during this interesting account, Andrew Scull tells the tale of tension - an sickness that disappeared now not via clinical endeavour, yet via growing to be knowing and cultural change.

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He should rather be composed and strengthened, and perhaps calmed with opium, thus strengthening his system and restoring him to health. Save for masochists, and those sad souls convinced that, unless treatments were painful and unpleasant they were unlikely to do much good, such milder prescriptions were probably the more popular among prospective patients, and the need to attract patients was, of course, of paramount importance to all these practitioners. Physicians’ books and treatises, though ostensibly aimed to some extent at their professional brethren, were simultaneously a way of raising their profile among an affluent and educated lay audience, who, for much of the eighteenth century, shared a common set of cultural assumptions about illness and its treatment with their doctors, and expected to play an active role in the encounter with those they regarded (quite correctly by the standards of their time) as their social inferiors.

9 Yet none of these characteristics should come as a surprise, since, in crucial ways (ways that remained opaque and hard to specify), the nervous system was coming to be seen as the interface between the material and the psychic realms. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century physicians rarely laid hands on their patients, relying on head, not hand, as the basis of their diagnostic acumen, and leaving the stigmatizing manual tasks that were a necessary part of any direct examination 33 hyster ia: the biogr aphy of the patient’s body to the lower-status surgeons.

One is tempted to suggest that he leapt on the bandwagon, but leaping was, of course, not an activity George was actually able to perform. ”1) His own mental anguish, however, had brought him to a certain sympathy with the hysteric and the hypochondriac, and his trolling for suitably affluent patients had already secured him at least one well-connected “nervous” patient, Catherine Walpole, the oldest daughter of the Whig grandee and prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, whose patronage Cheyne secured courtesy of the far more established physician to the aristocracy, Sir Hans Sloane.

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