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Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  129 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
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.
Hardcover
Published May 23rd 1997 by Picador (first published January 1st 1997)
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El
The concept of "hysteria" was historically applied only to women. The idea that whatever symptoms they are afflicted by tells where the woman's uterus has moved - for example, if a woman is complaining of headaches, her uterus has moved to her head; if she is complaining of leg weakness, her uterus has moved to her legs and feet. Modern medicine has taught that the uterus does in fact not move around the body, and is definitely found in one place only. Additionally, women aren't the only people ...more
Kevin Lawrence
Feb 16, 2015 Kevin Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I vaguely remember skimming through this book back when it first came out in the 90s and I was researching for a presentation on the relationship of Sunday night viewing habits of Americans who alternatively watched X-Files and Touched By an Angel (basically, my premise was around the t.v. as an alter for finding meaning to propel us into the week, be it extraterrestrial or otherworldly.) I picked the book up again this time because I was thinking about contemporary anti-vaxxers and how their pa ...more
Palmyrah
Mar 05, 2010 Palmyrah rated it really liked it
I'm not, as a rule, a sympathetic reader of feminist literature nor of contemporary criticism. However, I thought this an extremely good book by an extremely knowledgeable, perceptive and sceptical author. The subject is mass hysteria, or rather the different narratives of social phenomena of hysterical origin, such as Gulf War syndrome, fatigue syndrome, Satanic-ritual-abuse and alien-abduction subcultures and the rest of the sorry farrago of conspiracy-theorist nonsense that passes for culture ...more
Rj
Dec 05, 2015 Rj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Showalter's work until I picked up this book recently. I knew her work on hysteria from my undergrad years when I wrote a paper on hysteria at the London Hospital for the Insane many years ago. This book looks at hysterical epidemics in the 1980s and 1990s in North America, including alien abduction, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Satanic ritual abuse, recovered memory, Gulf War syndrome and multiple personality syndrome. Showalter connects these hysterical events t ...more
Vera
Dec 26, 2014 Vera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book explores why panics and conspiracy theories emerge and proliferate in the US.
Interestingly, it shows how academics and policy makers are not immune to believing exaggerated claims and accepting downright false ideas.
Elise
Jan 11, 2010 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
People are crazy.
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her-story 1 2 Jun 09, 2013 09:37AM  
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Elaine Showalter is an American literary critic, feminist, and writer on cultural and social issues. She is one of the founders of feminist literary criticism in United States academia, developing the concept and practice of gynocritics.

She is well known and respected in both academic and popular cultural fields. She has written and edited numerous books and articles focussed on a variety of subje
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More about Elaine Showalter...

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