Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture

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Showalter takes on the history of mass cultural hysteria, from witch hunts to mesmerism, and discusses today's versions--ranging from chronic fatigue or Gulf War Syndrome to recovered memories--and the attendant publicity.

A spirited Freudo-literary analysis of what she calls hysterical epidemics and what social scientists call emotional contagions or mass psychogenic illnesses. Her six examples are chronic fatigue syndrome, gulf war syndrome,...

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Overview

Showalter takes on the history of mass cultural hysteria, from witch hunts to mesmerism, and discusses today's versions--ranging from chronic fatigue or Gulf War Syndrome to recovered memories--and the attendant publicity.

A spirited Freudo-literary analysis of what she calls hysterical epidemics and what social scientists call emotional contagions or mass psychogenic illnesses. Her six examples are chronic fatigue syndrome, gulf war syndrome, recovered memories of sexual abuse, multiple personality disorder, satanic ritual abuse and alien abduction. She knows full well that throwing the first three into the mix will 'infuriate thousands of people who believe they are suffering from unidentified organic disorders or the after-effects of trauma.' She braves not only their wrath, but also that of the feminist therapists and writers whose 'credulous endorsements of recovered memory and satanic abuse' have contributed to these epidemics. This attitude alone is worth the price of the book. (New York Times Book Review)

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Editorial Reviews

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Argues that modern syndromes such as alien abduction, chronic fatigue, satanic ritual abuse, and Gulf War syndrome are all manifestations of mass cultural hysteria, and shows how epidemics of hysteria are spread through self-help books, talk shows, the Internet, films, and literary criticism. For scholars and general readers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Supplement Times Literary
Hysteria is the postmodernist malady par excellence...Whatever the causes, no author has contributed more importantly to the new literature in this area than Elaine Showalter. -- Times Literary Supplement
Kirkus Reviews
Applied scholarship in the best interdisciplinary tradition, examining how hysteria, the individual somaticization of anxiety, devolves to the "hystories," or cultural narratives, of the title and how they in turn escalate into psychogenic epidemics.

Feminist literary critic and medical historian Showalter (Humanities/Princeton Univ.) identifies six contemporary syndromes as hysterical epidemics, which arise when influential professional gurus impact on vulnerable populations in culturally supportive environments. Showalter modifies her own endorsement (The Female Malady, 1985) of feminist therapy/therapeutic feminism as she attacks the credulousness of "the feminist embrace of all abuse narratives and the treatment of all women as survivors." But psychotherapy is, Showalter claims, part of the solution to the problem that she expands on fluently in the idioms of psychoanalysis, feminism, and literature. When she moves to address chronic fatigue and Gulf War syndromes (rather too absolutely) as psychological in origin, her zeal biases her rhetorical and reportorial judgment; however, on the overlapping hystories of recovered memory, multiple personality disorder, satanic ritual abuse, and alien abduction, the advocates convict themselves—of fascination with conspiracy, of accommodating to guilt and fear by licensing the projecting of blame onto others, and above all of resolute obliviousness to "the way . . . suggestion worked to produce confabulation." Showalter has fun with the compound- bizarre, e.g., Harvard psychiatrist John Mack's speculation that remembered sexual abuse actually screens repressed episodes of alien abduction. But she honors the "spiritual resonance" lodged even in the narratives she makes sport of: Her quarrel is not with the symptoms of hysteria; she affirms the they are no less real (and no less treatable) than those of organic diseases. It is with the "social appropriations" of hysteria (such as the ramifications of incest accusations based on "recovered" memory) that she takes issue, and in defense of emotional mystery and narrative truth that she risks the wrath of the epidemics' suffering proponents by challenging them.

Muscular, probably inflammatory, and elegantly expressed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231104586
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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Chapter One


I

The Hysterical Hot Zone

In the Midwest, a nurse with chronic fatigue syndrome commits suicide with the help of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. In Yorkshire, a young Gulf War veteran struggles with a mysterious illness that has destroyed his marriage and his career. In California, an executive is disgraced after his daughter, who has been treated by her therapist with the hypnotic drug sodium amytal, says he abused her when she was a child; the court later awards him half a million dollars' damages. In Massachusetts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard professor claims that little gray aliens are visiting the United States and performing sexual experiments on thousands of Americans. In Oklahoma, accused bomber Timothy McVeigh tells his lawyers that the government planted a surveillance microchip in his buttocks during the Gulf War. In Montana, right-wing militias announce that the federal government, armed with bombs and black helicopters, is chemically altering the blood of U.S. citizens as part of its conspiracy to create a New World Order.

These sensational cases exemplify individual hysterias connecting with modern social movements to produce psychological epidemics. In books like Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague (1994) and Richard Preston's The Hot Zone (1994), we've learned a lot about large-scale viral epidemics caused by killer microbes from the rain forest and the jungle. Fifty years ago scientists believed that antibiotics had conquered infectious disease and that the age of epidemics had passed into history. According to Garrett, these "boosters of the 1950s and early 1960s had somebasis, born of ignorance, for their optimism; they knew comparatively little about genetics, microbial evolution, the human immune system, or disease ecology." But infectious diseases had not been vanquished; they have proved remarkably resistant to medical triumphs and medical complacency. From Toxic Shock Syndrome to AIDS and the Ebola virus, emergent and resurgent diseases threaten societies that have believed themselves immune from pandemics.

Just as scientists prematurely proclaimed infectious diseases to be dead, so too psychiatrists prematurely announced the death of hysteria. In her 1965 study, Ilza Veith marveled at the "nearly total disappearance" of the disorder. "Where has all the hysteria gone?" psychologist Roberta Satow asked a decade later. Some doctors explained that the diagnostic tools of modern medicine had conquered hysteria by identifying it as unrecognized organic illness. A number of historians and sociologists argued that hysteria was really a Victorian disorder, a female reaction to sexual repression and limited opportunities, which diminished with the advent of modern feminism. Many psychiatrists believed that widespread awareness of Freudian psychoanalysis had made somatic conversion hysterias like limps and paralyses unfeasible as expressions of anxiety. According to the British analyst Harold Mersky in The Analysis of Hysteria (1978), conversion hysterias occur only in psychoanalytically unsophisticated areas such as East Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, or Nigeria. Whatever the cause, "hysteria is dead, that is certain," wrote the French medical historian Etienne Trillat, "and it has taken its secrets with it to the grave."

But hysteria has not died. It has simply been relabeled for a new era. While Ebola virus and Lassa fever remain potential, psychological plagues at the end of the twentieth century are all too real. In the 1990s, the United States has become the hot zone of psychogenic diseases, new and mutating forms of hysteria amplified by modern communications and fin de siecle anxiety. Contemporary hysterical patients blame external sources—a virus, sexual molestation, chemical warfare, satanic conspiracy, alien infiltration—for psychic problems. A century after Freud, many people still reject psychological explanations for symptoms; they believe psychosomatic disorders are illegitimate and search for physical evidence that firmly places cause and cure outside the self.

When well-meaning crusaders see hysterical syndromes in the context of social crises and then publicize their views through modern communications networks, these misconceptions can give rise to epidemics and witch-hunts. In The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn describes the paranoias that accompany apocalyptic moments. "Those who are first attracted," he writes, "will mostly be people who seek a sanction for the emotional needs generated by their own unconscious conflicts. It is as though units of paranoia hitherto diffused through the population suddenly coalesce to form a new entity: a collective paranoiac fanaticism. But these first followers, precisely because they are true believers, can endow their new movement with such confidence, energy and ruthlessness that it will attract into its wake vast multitudes of people who are themselves not at all paranoid but simply harassed, hungry or frightened." When "a paranoiac mass movement captures political power," Cohn warns, disaster follows.

Cohn writes about the year 1000 but he could be describing the mood right now. In the interaction between 1990s millennial panic, new psychotherapies, religious fundamentalism, and American political paranoia, we can see the crucible of virulent hysterias in our own time. The heroes and heroines of 1990s hysteria call themselves traumatists and ufologists, experiencers and abductees, survivors and survivalists. As their syndromes evolve, they grow from microtales of individual affliction to panics fueled by rumors about medical, familial, community, or governmental conspiracy. As the panic reaches epidemic proportions, hysteria seeks out scapegoats and enemies—from unsympathetic doctors, abusive fathers, and working mothers to devil-worshiping sadists, curious extraterrestrials, and evil governments.

Hystories

Hysteria not only survives in the 1990s, it is more contagious than in the past. Infectious diseases spread by ecological change, modern technology, urbanization, jet travel, and human interaction. Infectious epidemics of hysteria spread by stories circulated through self-help books, articles in newspapers and magazines, TV talk shows and series, films, the Internet, and even literary criticism. The cultural narratives of hysteria, which I call hystories, multiply rapidly and uncontrollably in the era of mass media, telecommunications, and e-mail.

As we approach our own millennium, the epidemics of hysterical disorders, imaginary illnesses, and hypnotically induced pseudomemories that have flooded the media seem to be reaching a high-water mark. These hystories are merging with the more generalized paranoias, religious revivals, and conspiracy theories that have always characterized American life, and the apocalyptic anxieties that always accompany the end of a century. Now they are dispersing globally to infect other countries and cultures.

I am a literary critic and a historian of medicine, rather than a psychiatrist. Above all, hysteria tells a story, and specialists in understanding and interpreting stories know ways to read it. As hysteria has moved from the clinic to the library, from the case study to the novel, from bodies to books, from page to stage and screen, it has developed its own prototypes, archetypes, and plots. Many of these motifs are adapted from myth, popular culture, folklore, media reports, and literature. Drawing on literary and medical history, I try to unravel some of the threads that make up the narratives of epidemic hysteria in the 1990s.

Hystories have internal similarities or evolve in similar directions as they're retold—which has convinced many doctors and researchers that these stories must be true. A century ago, Freud insisted that the stories his patients told him under hypnosis must be fact because of the "uniformity which they exhibit in certain details." Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome patients at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, researcher Walter Gunn "asked himself the fundamental question: how could so many people—all of whom told a story that was, with only minor variations, the same—be making this up?" Advocates of alien abduction also have faith in narrative similarity. "All the major accounts of abduction in the book share common characteristics and thus provide a confirmation of one another," writes David Jacobs in Alien Encounters. "Even the smallest details of the events were confirmed many times over. There was a chronology, structure, logic—the events made sense ... and they displayed an extraordinary internal consistency."

Literary critics, however, realize that similarities between two stories do not mean that they mirror a common reality or even that the writers have read each other's texts. Like all narratives, hystories have their own conventions, stereotypes, and structures. Writers inherit common themes, structures, characters, and images; critics call these common elements intertextuality. We need not assume that patients are either describing an organic disorder or else lying when they present similar narratives of symptoms. Instead, patients learn about diseases from the media, unconsciously develop the symptoms, and then attract media attention in an endless cycle. The human imagination is not infinite, and we are all bombarded by these plot lines every day. Inevitably, we all live out the social stories of our time.

The New Hysterians

While physicians and psychiatrists have long been writing obituaries for hysteria, scholars in the humanities and social sciences have given it new life. Social historians, philosophers, anthropologists, literary critics, and art historians have taken up the subject of hysteria because it cuts across historical periods and national boundaries, poses fundamental questions about gender and culture, and offers insights into language, narrative, and representation. This informal international network of scholars does not yet have an organization, a journal, or an official name, but we meet at conferences, correspond through e-mail and snail mail, and exchange manuscripts, articles, and books. I call the group the New Hysterians.

New Hysterians ask questions about the self, sexual and gender identity, cultural meaning, and political behavior. According to Roy Porter, a dauntingly prolific and energetic historian of medicine and science who teaches at the Wellcome Institute in London, the story of hysteria is "a history in which the very notions of mind and body, and the boundaries and bridges between them, are constantly being challenged and reconstituted." In Approaching Hysteria, Mark Micale, who teaches et Yale and the University of Manchester, writes that hysteria is "not a disease; rather, it is an alternative physical, verbal, and gestural language, an iconic social communication."

Throughout history, hysteria has served as a form of expression, a body language for people who otherwise might not be able to speak or even to admit what they feel. In the words of Robert M. Woolsey, hysteria is a "protolanguage," and its symptoms are "a code used by a patient to communicate a message which, for various reasons, cannot be verbalized." It appears in the young as well as the old, in men as well as women, in blacks as well as whites. It happens to the powerful as well as the obscure. In October 1993, the Empress of Japan lost her voice after she had been criticized in the press and did not speak for three months: "It is possible," the official Japanese Household Agency declared, "for a person who suffers some strong feelings of distress to develop a symptom in which the person temporarily cannot utter words." A seasoned soldier may experience stress as disabling as that of a helpless child. Circumstances silence people, not their rank or position.

Micale suggests that the new hysteria studies express the age as much as the disorders they analyze. He sees New Hysterians as products of the "gender revolution" inspired by the "great metacritique of gender that in retrospect is certain to be regarded as one of the defining features of the thought, culture, and society of the late twentieth century." He also speculates that this generation of scholars has come of age in the context of the AIDS epidemic, reflecting "the rapid and traumatizing reintroduction of the reality of epidemic disease" into their mental life. Since mass psychogenic disorders are metasymbols of the deep structures of our culture, Micale concludes that for the New Hysterians, "rewriting the history of hysteria becomes a way of achieving an understanding of, and perspective on, ourselves and our social world."

Beyond Scapegoats

I expect that defining recovered memory, chronic fatigue, and Gulf War syndrome as contemporary hysterias, and analyzing them on a continuum with alien abduction stories and conspiracy theories will infuriate thousands of people who believe they are suffering from unidentified organic disorders or the aftereffects of trauma. I don't wish to offend these sufferers, but I know that many assume the term hysteria has insulting connotations. Being hysterical means being overemotional, irresponsible, and feminine. During an argument, "hysterical" is what you contemptuously call your opponent when you're keeping your cool and he's losing his. It's a term that particularly enrages some feminists because for centuries it has been used to ridicule and trivialize women's medical and political complaints.

Americans also tend to feel defensive about hysterical disorders after the recent spate of accusations that this country is becoming a hysterical victim society. It's a standing joke that Americans no longer view themselves as sinners struggling with the guilt of lust, avarice, or greed but rather as sick people addicted to sex, shopping, or sweets. Books like Charles Sykes's A Nation of Victims (1992), Robert Hughes's The Culture of Complaint (1993), Wendy Kaminer's I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional (1993), and Alan Dershowitz's The Abuse Excuse (1995) mock and denounce what they see as the twelve-step, self-help culture of contemporary America. Because many of these books have an ideological ax to grind, they seek political scapegoats and simple answers for a complex phenomenon. Pundits blame the recovery movement on Freud and psychoanalysis, changes in sexuality, or a collapse of American family values. These attacks are so sweeping and so vitriolic, so one-sided and so unfair, it's no wonder patients, psychiatrists, and therapists feel threatened and panicky. In the Journal of Psychohistory, Nielltje Gedney, for example, charges that critics are after "the total annihilation of therapy and therapists."

I don't regard hysteria as weakness, badness, feminine deceitfulness, or irresponsibility, but rather as a cultural symptom of anxiety and stress. The conflicts that produce hysterical symptoms are genuine and universal; hysterics are not liars and therapists are not villains. Instead, hystories are constructed by suffering patients, caring psychologists, dedicated clergy, devoted parents, hardworking police, concerned feminists, and anxious communities. While I criticize some forms of therapy, some uses of drugs in recovering memories, and some selfhelp literature, I also see a vital place for psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and psychological guidebooks in everyday life. We should no more attempt to struggle alone with crippling depressions than to run the marathon with broken legs.

Unfortunately, though some critics claim that psychoanalysis is passe, Freud's message never got through to millions of people, who still distrust and fear the unconscious and its power over us. As a result, they suffer needlessly. Class, race, gender, and cultural attitudes play an underestimated role in the legitimation of psychotherapy. A 1995 New York magazine poll showed that 44 percent of New Yorkers living in Manhattan had sought psychological counseling—more than twice the percentage of those New Yorkers in Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Queens. Black Americans distrust psychoanalysis more than white Americans do. Women have more leeway than men to seek psychological help.

Hysteria is inevitably a feminist issue, because for centuries doctors regarded it as a female reproductive disease. Charcot and Freud collaborated with female patients who have become known as the classical or canonical hysterics. Some modern psychoanalysts suggest that the golden age of hysteria vanished with the great hysterical divas of the nineteenth century. Jacques Lacan regarded these women as bygone stars, like Mistinguette or Judy Garland: "Where have they gone, the hysterics of yesteryear ... these marvelous women, the Anna Os, the Emmy von Ns?" he asked in 1977. But even in the 1990s, women patients outnumber men in virtually every category of unexplained illness and recovered memory. According to a study at Harvard Medical School, 80 percent of those with chronic fatigue syndrome are women. More than 90 percent of those who say they've recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse are women. Ian Hacking concludes that nine out of ten patients diagnosed with multiple personality disorder are women. Researcher Debby Nathan observes that accusations of satanic ritual abuse come primarily from women. Even among those who claim to have been abducted by aliens, a field where science fiction and technology mix, women outnumber men about three to one and, according to ufologist David Jacobs, "seem to have a larger number of more complex experiences."

Hysteria concerns feminists because the label has always been used to discredit women's political protest. Conservatives have pressed ancient stereotypes into popular service to interpret all women's frustrations as sexual and irrational, and to stigmatize the sharing of women's experiences as hysterical confession. Lynne V. Cheney's Telling the Truth (1995), for instance, blames women's studies classrooms in universities for the recovered memory movement. Cheney draws a sinister analogy between women's studies discussions and therapeutic coercion: "Indeed, there are many parallels between the recovered memory movement and feminism as it has come to be practiced on campuses. The encouragement—even the requirement—in feminist classrooms to confess personal views and traumas establishes an environment very much like the one that exists in victim recovery groups." Feminist activists are understandably angry about these attacks and about related attacks on the concepts of child abuse, date rape, and wife-battering. They argue that these crimes are underreported and underbelieved, that women and men have fought for years to create an atmosphere in which women's testimony is taken seriously.

Nonetheless, in a surprising reversal, hysteria has been adopted since 1970 by a number of feminist intellectuals, psychoanalysts, writers, and literary critics as a rallying cry for feminism itself. Some of these women have claimed hysteria as the first step on the road to feminism, the sign of women's protest against patriarchy. Hysteria, writes Diane Price Herndl, "has come to figure as a sort of rudimentary feminism, and feminism as a kind of articulate hysteria." In my book The Female Malady (1985), I speculated that although epidemic hysteria exists on one extreme of a continuum with feminism, as a body language of women's rebellion against patriarchal oppression, it is a desperate, and ultimately self-destructive, form of protest. But for many feminist writers, the nineteenth-century hysterical supermodels—the canonical or articulate hysterics—epitomize universal female oppression. Some contemporary feminist theorists and therapists have inadvertently helped to spread new hysterical disorders.

The feminist interpretation of hysteria as a product of women's social circumstances has been an important contribution to our understanding of female psychology. But I deplore the credulous endorsements of recovered memory and satanic abuse that have become part of one wing of feminist thought. I try to ask feminist questions about the sources behind these syndromes, accusations, and conspiracy theories. What needs are women attempting to meet through these therapeutic investments, sickness lifestyles, and emotional hystories? Can we find more constructive ways to meet these needs than succumbing to the epidemic of suspicion and blame that threatens us all at the end of our century? Can we redefine hysteria in a way that allows more space for the mysteries of human emotions?

The Anatomy of Epidemics

In this book, I look at the forces that shape hysterical epidemics. Part I, "Histories," reviews the rise of modern hysteria and the cultural and religious matrix where it takes shape. Hysteria needs a doctor or theorist, an authority figure who can give it a compelling name and narrative. As Roy Porter points out, "The nineteenth century was hysteria's golden age because it was then that the moral presence of the doctor became normative as never before in regulating intimate lives." The greatest of these physician-advocates were Jean-Martin Charcot, Sigmund Freud, and Jacques Lacan. But hysteria is dialogic: it depends on the needs of patients as well as the decisions of doctors. Until World War I, most of the famous hysterical patients were women. Many historians and analysts have maintained that hysteria is the product of a dialogue or collaboration between the hysterical woman and the medical man. Male doctors have been reluctant to confront the reality of male hysteria, but hysterical men play an underestimated role in the evolution of the disorder. I trace the theories and prototypes of male hysteria from the nineteenth century to the present and question the assumption that hysterical men must be homosexual.

In part II, "Cultures," I look at hysteria's intersections with literature, theater, and film. Models and metaphors of hysterical illness have always been circulated through fiction and drama, and Freud even defined hysteria as narrative incoherence. Today many syndromes are bracketed with a particular genre of popular fiction—multiple personality disorder with the confession, satanic ritual abuse with horror stories, alien abduction with science fiction. Movies and television also popularize the narratives of these syndromes, and even literary criticism can contribute to the blurring of fiction and reality.

Part III, "Epidemics," analyzes six psychogenic syndromes of the 1990s: chronic fatigue, Gulf War syndrome, multiple personality disorder, recovered memory of sexual abuse, satanic ritual abuse, and alien abduction. The hystories of these syndromes are linked and overlapping. Some doctors attribute Gulf War syndrome to chronic fatigue syndrome. Some therapists regard anorexia and bulimia as symptoms of childhood sexual abuse that must be remembered in therapy. Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse can lead to cases of multiple personality disorder and satanic ritual abuse. Traumatologists believe that stories of alien abduction are screen memories for child sexual abuse, while ufologists maintain that narratives of child sexual abuse often shield experiences of alien abduction. All these syndromes move toward suspicion, conspiracy theories, witch-hunts, and mass panics.

Can we interrupt or halt these epidemics? I believe that we already have the power to control epidemic hysteria, though it will take dedication and persistence to counter sensational news reports, rumors, and fear. We must accept the interdependence between mind and body, and recognize hysterical syndromes as a universal psychopathology of everyday life before we can dismantle their stigmatizing mythologies. When anti-Freudian zealots make sweeping attacks on psychoanalysis and psychiatry, we can defend Freud's insights and try to restore confidence in serious psychotherapy. We need professional regulation that can establish licensing requirements for psychotherapists. We also need encouragement and financial support for people trying to cope with the painful dilemmas and tragedies of life in the 1990s. Psychiatry and pharmapsychology offer new and effective treatments for debilitating depression, compulsive behaviors, and anxiety disorders. TV talk shows and self-help literature are easy targets for scornful intellectuals, but they reach and teach a wide audience, largely female, that cannot always afford or manage other forms of counseling.

New Hysterians and other scholars can place hysteria in its fullest sexual, historical, and cultural contexts. We can use the media to fight rumors as well as to spread them, through op-ed pieces, magazine stories, TV documentaries, and books. Modern forms of individual and mass hysteria have much to tell us about the anxieties and fantasies of western culture, especially in the United States and Europe. We can use our knowledge of the past to interpret what is happening today. We can educate the public about the long history of war neurosis and transform the prevailing atmosphere of skepticism and contempt for psychogenic symptoms men.

Feminists have an ethical as well as an intellectual responsibility to ask tough questions about the current narratives of illness, trauma, accusation, and conspiracy. We also have a responsibility to address the problems behind the epidemics—including the need to protect children from sexual and physical abuse. And we can lead the way in making distinctions between metaphors and realities, between therapeutic narratives and destructive hystories. If hysteria is a protolanguage rather than a disease, we must pay attention to what it is telling us.

Finally, as a critic of hysteria's stories, I want to emphasize my belief that hysteria is part of everyday life. Whenever I lecture about hysteria, I cough. French psychoanalyst Andre Green, an internationally honored member of the Freudian community, has joked that "we are all hysterics ... except when we are writing papers." Any honest scholar knows that we are all hysterics, especially when we are writing papers. I do not have a quarrel with hysteria's symptoms, but with its social appropriations. In this book, I hope to show the difference.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
PART ONE: HISTORIES
1. The Hysterical Hot Zone 3
2. Defining Hysteria 14
3. The History of Hysteria:The Great Doctors 30
4. Politics, Patients, and Feminism 49
5. Hysterical Men 62
PART TWO: CULTURES
6. Hysterical Narratives 81
7. Hysteria and the Histrionic 100
PART THREE: EPIDEMICS
8. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 115
9. Gulf War Syndrome 133
10. Recovered Memory 144
11. Multiple Personality Syndrome 159
12. Satanic Ritual Abuse 171
13. Alien Abduction 189
14. The Crucible 202
Notes 209
Index 233
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  • Posted December 20, 2012

    Poor Elaine Schowalter! Had a frequently sick mother. Apparently

    Poor Elaine Schowalter! Had a frequently sick mother. Apparently,  the lack of mother-daughter attention
    WRECKED her childhood.

    In order to get even with God and nature for her misery, she decides to attack CFS (a.k.a. CFIDS)
    patients.

    Now there are lab tests to verify its presence, and protocols for treatment.  The NIH even publishes a
    "how to" book on diagnosis and treatment. But poor Elaine, an English literature academic who has
    NO medical education/training, jumbles misinformation into a "book."  
    Would she respect the literary criticism of a neuro-biologist?  NEVER!

    Elaine might have worked out all her neurosises. She also managed to set the treatment and
    understanding of a disease whch attacks MANY sick people. = Up to 3% of the US population!
    People with an autoimmune disorder which often presents  as an organic brain disorder.  A
    debilitating illness.  It's NOT "all in your head" as Elaine suggests.  
    Many patients "waste away" to a premature death.  

    But one must suppose Schowalter is OK with that.   -Good for you, Elaine!          
     

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