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Hystories : Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media (97 Edition)

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Hystories : Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media (97 Edition) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

This provocative and illuminating book charts the persistence of a cultural phenomenon. Tales of alien abduction, chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, and the resurgence of repressed memories in psychotherapy are just a few of the signs that we live in an age of hysterical epidemics.

As Elaine Showalter demonstrates, the triumphs of the therapeutic society have not been able to prevent the appearance of hysterical disorders, imaginary illnesses, rumor panics, and pseudomemories that mark the end of the millenium.

Like the witch-hunts of the 1690s and the hypnotic cures of the 1980s, the hysterical syndromes of the 1990s reflect the fears and anxieties of a culture on the edge of change. Showalter highlights the full range of contemporary syndromes and draws connections to earlier times and settings, showing that hysterias mutate and are renamed; under the right circumstances, everyone is susceptible.

Today, hysterical epidemics are not spread by viruses or vapors but by stories, narratives Showalter calls hystories that are created in the interaction of troubled patients and sympathetic therapists... circulated through self-help books, articles in newspapers and magazines, TV talk shows, popular films, the Internet, even literary criticism. Though popular stereotypes of hysteria are still stigmatizing, largely because of their associations with women, many of the most recent manifestations receive respectful and widespread coverage. In an age skeptical of Freud and the power of unconscious desires and conflicts, personal troubles are blamed on everything from devil-worshipping sadists to conspiring governments. The result is the potential for paranoia and ignorance on a massive scale.

Skillfully surveying the condition of hysteria — its causes, cures, famous patients, and doctors — in the twentieth century, Showalter also looks at literature, drama, and feminist representations of the hysterical. Hysterias, she shows, are always with us, a kind of collective coping mechanism for changing times; all that differs are names and labels, and at times of crisis, individual hysterias can become contagious.

Insightful and sensitive, filled with fascinating new perspectives on a culture saturated with syndromes of every sort, Hystories is a gift of good sense from one of our best critics.

Synopsis:

Filled with fascinating new perspectives on a culture saturated with syndromes of every sort, "Hystories" skillfully surveys the condition of hysteria--its causes, cures, famous patients, and doctors--in the 20th century to show that hysterias are always with us, a kind of collective coping mechanism for changing times.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780231104593
Author:
Showalter, Elaine
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Location:
New York
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
Mass media
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Social aspects
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Mental Illness
Subject:
Hysteria
Subject:
Hysteria, epidemic
Subject:
Hysteria (social psychology)
Series Volume:
10
Publication Date:
19980331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.86x6.00x.57 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Assessment
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Reference
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies

Hystories : Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media (97 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231104593 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Filled with fascinating new perspectives on a culture saturated with syndromes of every sort, "Hystories" skillfully surveys the condition of hysteria--its causes, cures, famous patients, and doctors--in the 20th century to show that hysterias are always with us, a kind of collective coping mechanism for changing times.
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