By Elaine Showalter. New York: Columbia University Press, Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account?
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The ends of centuries have historically given rise to increased incidents of hysterical epidemics. Literary critic and medical historian Showalter has written a challenging and insightful history of It was one of the most influential works in feminist criticism, as it sought to establish a distinctive tradition for women writers.
In later essays, Showalter helped to develop a clearly articulated feminist theory with two major branches: the special study of works by women and the study of all literature from a feminist perspective. In all of her recent writing, Showalter has sought to illuminate a "cultural model of female writing," distinguishable from male models and theories.
Her role as editor bringing together key contemporary feminist criticism has been extremely influential on modern literary study. Hystories : Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture. Elaine Showalter. Hysteria has traditionally been seen as a female disorder but in this study of its cultural implications, the author argues that it is a universal illness and that far from dying out with the end of the Victorian sexual repression it is becoming more widespread and manifest.
Defining Hysteria. The Great Doctors. The Hysterical Hot Zone.
Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media
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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 s and the hypnotic cures of the s, the hysterical syndromes of the s 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 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.