Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy: The Case of Nanette Leroux

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Overview

Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy offers a rare window into the inner life of a person ordinarily inaccessible to historians: a semiliterate peasant girl who lived almost two centuries ago, in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Eighteen-year-old Nanette Leroux fell ill in 1822 with a variety of incapacitating nervous symptoms. Living near the spa at Aix-les-Bains, she became the charity patient of its medical director, Antoine Despine, who treated her with hydrotherapy and animal magnetism, as hypnosis was then called. Jan Goldstein translates, and provides a substantial introduction to, the previously unpublished manuscript recounting Nanette's strange illness - a manuscript coauthored by Despine and Alexandre Bertrand, the Paris physician who diagnosed Nanette as suffering from "hysteria complicated by ecstasy."\

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
[A]n ingenious accommodation of Freud and Foucault's disparate positions. . . . reviving investigation of hysteria for the new decade.
— George Rousseau
PsycCRITIQUES
Jan Goldstein . . . has uncovered a remarkable manuscript.
— Robert Shilkret
Canadian Journal of History
This is a remarkable piece of analysis in which we learn not only of how a semi-literate peasant girl experienced her nineteenth-century world, but where the reader also experiences how the historian was approached and handled her material. It serves as an inspiring exercise in historical methodology and analysis. . . . Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is informative on many levels, and provides a coherent narrative that encapsulates various facets of the life of a girl suffering from mental illness in nineteenth-century Savoy.
— Ian Miller
Journal of BJHS
Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is an interesting case study, containing particularly rich and stimulating analysis.
— Jacqueune Carroy
French Studies
Richly detailed and engagingly presented, this study is an important addition to the growing body of work examining medical perspectives on the condition of women and gender relations in the nineteenth century.
— Louise Lyle
Journal of Modern History
[C]oncise and fascinating.
— Sarah Maza
Metascience
Jan Goldstein has brought to bear her formidable talents as a cultural and intellectual historian in an examination that is always subtle and suggestive. . . . It is a beautifully written and thoughtful book—there are, for example, delightful passages on her personal experiences and procedures as an historian—and superbly produced by Princeton University Press.
— Peter McPhee
Nineteenth-Century French Studies
Its insights invite readers to reconsider their own views of psychosomatic illness, as well as to revisit the much-studied subject of hysteria in new terms. The book is written in a clear, concise, and elegant style; it is an admirable and original example of a multi-layered microhistory, one that extends the reader's understanding of the much wider social history forming and informing Nanette's individual case.
— Cristina Mazzoni
Foucault Studies
The assets of the work are numerous and Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy: The Case of Nanette Leroux succeeds on a number of critical fronts. The usefulness of the text is beyond question in terms of the content and it represents some exemplary methodological moves that would helpfully instruct those new to archival work and inspire those familiar with such methods but new to medical history. All in all, the work is commendable, smart, and deserves recognition for its many strengths.
— Alina Bennett
Times Literary Supplement - George Rousseau
[A]n ingenious accommodation of Freud and Foucault's disparate positions. . . . reviving investigation of hysteria for the new decade.
PsycCRITIQUES - Robert Shilkret
Jan Goldstein . . . has uncovered a remarkable manuscript.
Canadian Journal of History - Ian Miller
This is a remarkable piece of analysis in which we learn not only of how a semi-literate peasant girl experienced her nineteenth-century world, but where the reader also experiences how the historian was approached and handled her material. It serves as an inspiring exercise in historical methodology and analysis. . . . Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is informative on many levels, and provides a coherent narrative that encapsulates various facets of the life of a girl suffering from mental illness in nineteenth-century Savoy.
Journal of BJHS - Jacqueune Carroy
Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is an interesting case study, containing particularly rich and stimulating analysis.
French Studies - Louise Lyle
Richly detailed and engagingly presented, this study is an important addition to the growing body of work examining medical perspectives on the condition of women and gender relations in the nineteenth century.
Journal of Modern History - Sarah Maza
[C]oncise and fascinating.
Metascience - Peter McPhee
Jan Goldstein has brought to bear her formidable talents as a cultural and intellectual historian in an examination that is always subtle and suggestive. . . . It is a beautifully written and thoughtful book—there are, for example, delightful passages on her personal experiences and procedures as an historian—and superbly produced by Princeton University Press.
Nineteenth-Century French Studies - Cristina Mazzoni
Its insights invite readers to reconsider their own views of psychosomatic illness, as well as to revisit the much-studied subject of hysteria in new terms. The book is written in a clear, concise, and elegant style; it is an admirable and original example of a multi-layered microhistory, one that extends the reader's understanding of the much wider social history forming and informing Nanette's individual case.
Foucault Studies - Alina Bennett
The assets of the work are numerous and Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy: The Case of Nanette Leroux succeeds on a number of critical fronts. The usefulness of the text is beyond question in terms of the content and it represents some exemplary methodological moves that would helpfully instruct those new to archival work and inspire those familiar with such methods but new to medical history. All in all, the work is commendable, smart, and deserves recognition for its many strengths.
French History - Peter Cryle
[A]bsorbing and well-written. . . . This is a wonderfully thoughtful contribution to the history of medicine.
From the Publisher
"[A]n ingenious accommodation of Freud and Foucault's disparate positions. . . . reviving investigation of hysteria for the new decade."—George Rousseau, Times Literary Supplement

"Jan Goldstein . . . has uncovered a remarkable manuscript."—Robert Shilkret, PsycCRITIQUES

"This is a remarkable piece of analysis in which we learn not only of how a semi-literate peasant girl experienced her nineteenth-century world, but where the reader also experiences how the historian was approached and handled her material. It serves as an inspiring exercise in historical methodology and analysis. . . . Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is informative on many levels, and provides a coherent narrative that encapsulates various facets of the life of a girl suffering from mental illness in nineteenth-century Savoy."—Ian Miller, Canadian Journal of History

"Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy is an interesting case study, containing particularly rich and stimulating analysis."—Jacqueune Carroy, Journal of BJHS

"Richly detailed and engagingly presented, this study is an important addition to the growing body of work examining medical perspectives on the condition of women and gender relations in the nineteenth century."—Louise Lyle, French Studies

"[C]oncise and fascinating."—Sarah Maza, Journal of Modern History

"Jan Goldstein has brought to bear her formidable talents as a cultural and intellectual historian in an examination that is always subtle and suggestive. . . . It is a beautifully written and thoughtful book—there are, for example, delightful passages on her personal experiences and procedures as an historian—and superbly produced by Princeton University Press."—Peter McPhee, Metascience

"Its insights invite readers to reconsider their own views of psychosomatic illness, as well as to revisit the much-studied subject of hysteria in new terms. The book is written in a clear, concise, and elegant style; it is an admirable and original example of a multi-layered microhistory, one that extends the reader's understanding of the much wider social history forming and informing Nanette's individual case."—Cristina Mazzoni, Nineteenth-Century French Studies

"The assets of the work are numerous and Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy: The Case of Nanette Leroux succeeds on a number of critical fronts. The usefulness of the text is beyond question in terms of the content and it represents some exemplary methodological moves that would helpfully instruct those new to archival work and inspire those familiar with such methods but new to medical history. All in all, the work is commendable, smart, and deserves recognition for its many strengths."—Alina Bennett, Foucault Studies

"[A]bsorbing and well-written. . . . This is a wonderfully thoughtful contribution to the history of medicine."—Peter Cryle, French History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691011868
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Jan Goldstein is the Norman and Edna Freehling Professor of History at the University of Chicago. Her books include "The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France, 1750-1850" and "Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century".
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Pt. 1 Hysteria Complicated By Ecstasy: Sexuality, Time, and Commodities in the Malady of Nanette Leroux

Ch. 1 Preliminaries 3

The Authors of the Case: An Inbuilt Polyphony 6

The Plot Summary 11

Ch. 2 Contexts 18

Contexts: What They Do for the Reader, and How Many Are Enough 18

Savoy: Old Regime, Revolution, and Piedmontese Restoration 20

The Spa: A Characteristically Nineteenth-Century Setting 55

Commodities and Consumer Culture 42

Diagnostics: Catalepsy and Hysteria circa 1820 46

Medicine and Science as Public Spectacle 56

The Local Scientific Public Sphere 64

Scientific Networks, or How Despine Found Bertrand 65

Religion in Savoy and in the Leroux Case 69

Defiant Women: Despine's Chagrins Domestiques 73

Ch. 3 Making Sense of the Case 83

The Authors' Understanding of the Case 83

A Twenty-First-Century Interpretation of the Case 94

Ch. 4 Textual Matters 128

Nanette Leroux or "Nanette Leroux": The Issue of Pseudonyms 128

Palimpsest and Polyphony: The State of the Manuscript 129

Choosing a Text for Translation 133

Pt. 2 The Text of the Case History Observations of Nanette Leroux: Hysteria Complicated by Ecstasy 137

Appendix On the Compatibility of Foucauldian and Freudian Approaches 201

Notes 205

Index 239\

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