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Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriereby Georges Didi-huberman
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;Pandgt;In this classic of French cultural studies, Georges Didi-Huberman traces the intimate and reciprocal relationship between the disciplines of psychiatry and photography in the late nineteenth century. Focusing on the immense photographic output of the Salpetriere hospital, the notorious Parisian asylum for insane and incurable women, Didi-Huberman shows the crucial role played by photography in the invention of the category of hysteria. Under the direction of the medical teacher and clinician Jean-Martin Charcot, the inmates of Salpetriere identified as hysterics were methodically photographed, providing skeptical colleagues with visual proof of hysteria's specific form. These images, many of which appear in this book, provided the materials for the multivolume album Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere.As Didi-Huberman shows, these photographs were far from simply objective documentation. The subjects were required to portray their hysterical "type"--they performed their own hysteria. Bribed by the special status they enjoyed in the purgatory of experimentation and threatened with transfer back to the inferno of the incurables, the women patiently posed for the photographs and submitted to presentations of hysterical attacks before the crowds that gathered for Charcot's "Tuesday Lectures."Charcot did not stop at voyeuristic observation. Through techniques such as hypnosis, electroshock therapy, and genital manipulation, he instigated the hysterical symptoms in his patients, eventually giving rise to hatred and resistance on their part. Didi-Huberman follows this path from complicity to antipathy in one of Charcot's favorite "cases," that of Augustine, whose image crops up again and again in the Iconographie. Augustine's virtuosic performance of hysteria ultimately became one of self-sacrifice, seen in pictures of ecstasy, crucifixion, and silent cries.andlt;/Pandgt;
The first English-language publication of a classic French book on the relationship between the development of photography and of the medical category of hysteria.
This monograph of French art theorist and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman centers around a single sculpture: Alberto Giacomettiand#8217;s Cube from 1934 (Kunsthaus Zand#252;rich), possibly his most peculiar and atypical creation, being his only and#8220;abstractand#8221; sculptural work within a wider oeuvre, which consistently had the exploration of reality as its main objective.
By conducting a meticulous formal analysis of the sculpture, and consulting sketches, etchings, other sculptural works and texts of Giacometti originating from 1932 to 1935, the formative years of Cube, Didi-Huberman unwinds a net of questions, hypotheses, and historical contextualizations in which he envelops his investigation to unfold for the reader a wide spectrum of new perspectives. Cube, as it turns out, marks an exception. It is a self-containing work, barred from any stylistic kinship and#8211; and functions prismatically at the same time, delineates Giacomettiand#8217;s transition from his and#8220;surrealistand#8221; to his and#8220;realistand#8221; phase and thus contains in nuceand#160; principles which underlie his entire aesthetic understanding: the relation of the body to geometry, the problem of dimensionality, the separation between face and skull, the question of the portrait, which, in regards to this sculpture, prompts Didi-Huberman to develop the new notion of an and#8220;abstract anthropomorphismand#8221;.
Referencing the works of Freud, Bataille, Leiris and Carl Einstein, which had a lasting influence on Giacometti as well, this study presents the reader with an exuberant plurality of methodological approaches and readings. Out of a newly arising sensibility for a formal analysis, Didi-Huberman develops his very own anthropological perspective on the notion of the image.
Alberto Giacomettiandrsquo;s 1934 Cube stands apart for many as atypical of the Swiss artist, the only abstract sculptural work in a wide oeuvre that otherwise had as its objective the exploration of reality.
With The Cube and the Face, renowned French art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman has conducted a careful analysis of Cube, consulting the artistandrsquo;s sketches, etchings, texts, and other sculptural works in the years just before and after Cube was created. Cube, he finds, is indeed exceptionalandmdash;a work without clear stylistic kinship to the works that came before or after it. At the same time, Didi-Huberman shows, Cube marks the transition between the artistandrsquo;s surrealist and realist phases and contains many elements of Giacomettiandrsquo;s aesthetic consciousness, including his interest in dimensionality, the relation of the body to geometry, and the portraitandmdash;or what Didi-Huberman terms andldquo;abstract anthropomorphism.andrdquo; Drawing on Freud, Bataille, Leiris, and others Giacometti counted as influence, Didi-Huberman presents fans and collectors of Giacomettiandrsquo;s art with a new approach to transitional work.
In the late nineteenth century, scientists, psychiatrists, and medical practitioners began employing a new experimental technique for the study of neuroses: hypnotism. Though the efforts of the famous French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot to transform hypnosis into a laboratory science failed, his Viennese translator and disciple Sigmund Freud took up the challenge and invented psychoanalysis. Previous scholarship has viewed hypnosis and psychoanalysis in sharp opposition or claimed that both were ultimately grounded in the phenomenon of suggestion and thus equally flawed. In this groundbreaking study, Andreas Mayer reexamines the relationship between hypnosis and psychoanalysis, revealing that the emergence of the familiar Freudian psychoanalytic setting cannot be understood without a detailed analysis of the sites, material and social practices, and controversies within the checkered scientific and medical landscape of hypnotism.
Sites of the Unconscious analyzes the major controversies between competing French schools of hypnotism that emerged at this time, stressing their different views on the production of viable evidence and their different ways of deploying hypnosis. Mayer then reconstructs in detail the reception of French hypnotism in German-speaking countries, arguing that the distinctive features of Freudandrsquo;s psychoanalytic setting of the couch emerged out of the clinical laboratories and private consulting rooms of the practitioners of hypnosis.
About the Author
Georges Didi-Huberman teaches at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. He is a winner of the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art given by the College Art Association.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Part I: French Cultures of Hypnosis
1. andldquo;Experimental Neurosesandrdquo;: Hypnotism at the Salpandecirc;triandegrave;re Hospital
The Clinical Geography of Charcotandrsquo;s New Research Center
The Experimentalization of the Unconscious
2. The Controversy between Paris and Nancy over Hypnotic Suggestion
Hypnotic Suggestion as a Therapeutic Method in Nancy
A andldquo;Suggestive Atmosphereandrdquo;: Bernheimandrsquo;s Clinic
The Problem of Simulation
Two Cultures of Hypnotism
3. andldquo;Amour expandeacute;rimentalandrdquo;: Facts and Fetishes at the Musandeacute;e Charcot
A andldquo;Museum of Clinical Factsandrdquo;
Transferring Psychic Objects
Pinning Down Hallucinations
The Tactical Intelligence of Subjects
4. The Question of Lay Hypnosis
Stage Magnetism and Lay Hypnosis
Enter the Critic: Joseph Delbandoelig;uf
Challenging the Medical Monopoly on Hypnosis
Part II: The Emergence of the Psychoanalytic Setting
5. Parisandndash;Vienna: A Problematic Transfer
Polemics Surrounding the andldquo;Wiener Nancyerandrdquo;
The Krafft-Ebing Scandal
6. Freud and the Vicissitudes of Private Practice
Conflicting Ceremonies of the Cure
Factoring Out the Problem of Simulation
Freudandrsquo;s Revision: Analysis without Hypnosis
7. The Psychotherapeutic Private Practice between Clinic and Laboratory
Voice Commands: The Soundscape of the Hypnotic Consulting Room
The Fractionation Method: Oskar Vogtandrsquo;s Laboratory of Hypnosis
andldquo;Psychical Analysesandrdquo;: Vogt versus Freud
8. Experimentalism without a Laboratory: The Psychoanalytic Setting
andldquo;Self-Analysesandrdquo;: Writing, Reading, and Dreaming
Tracking the Complex: Attempts at Stabilizing the Psychoanalytic Setting
Objects Blanked Out: Freudandrsquo;s Scene of Treatment
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