Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriere



Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpetriere
The MIT Press | July 13, 2003 | ISBN-10: 0262042150 | 385 pages | File type: PDF | 11.24 mb

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 Salpêtrière 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 Salpêtrière 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 Salpêtrière. As Didi-Huberman shows, these photographs were far from simply objective documentation.

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