By Mark S. Micale
Over the process numerous centuries, Western masculinity has effectively confirmed itself because the voice of cause, wisdom, and sanity—the foundation for patriarchal rule—in the face of huge testimony on the contrary. Hysterical males boldly demanding situations this successful imaginative and prescient of the solid and safe male by way of reading the significant position performed by means of sleek technological know-how and drugs in developing and maintaining it. Mark Micale finds the hidden aspect of this imaginative and prescient, that's, the innumerable situations of disturbed and deranged males who handed lower than the eyes of male scientific and medical elites from the 17th century onward. due to the fact that precedent days, physicians and philosophers had heavily saw and extravagantly theorized lady weak point, emotionality, and insanity. What those male specialists did not see—or observed yet didn't acknowledge—was masculine worried and psychological affliction between all sessions and in various guises. whereas cultural and literary intellectuals pioneered new languages of male emotional misery, eu technology used to be invested in cultivating and retaining similar to male, middle-class detachment, objectivity, and rationality regardless of rampant counter-evidence within the hospital, within the laboratory, and on battlefields. the explanations for suppressing male neurosis from the reputable discourses of technological know-how and drugs in addition to from renowned view diversity from the private and mental to the pro and the political. They make for a heritage choked with profound silences, omissions, and amnesias. Now, despite the fact that, lower than the enormously altered conditions of today’s gender revolution, Micale’s paintings permits this tale to be heard. (20080901)
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Additional resources for Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness
Nervous suffering was viewed not so much as a disease to be combated and overcome but as a permanent part of la condition humaine. Accordingly, British medical discourse of the period is comparatively free of the sort of stigmatizing, value-laden rhetoric that became so common in the following century. The hysteric and hypochondriac were at times subjected to derision or caricature; but this was the worst of it, and they were just as likely to be regarded as victims of real physical and emotional distress.
75 At this point, it becomes clear that Misomedon is part of an acutely dysfunctional family of neurotics. ”76 He suggests different causes for nervous affections in women, including thinner blood and greater physical delicacy and emotional lability. Nevertheless, he judges male and female cases to be the same malady, and throughout the treatise he uses the terms “vapours,” “hysteria,” and “hypochondria” interchangeably. 77 Mandeville’s dialogues, written in the generation immediately following the deaths of Willis and Sydenham, initiated the eighteenth-century British tradition of the treatise on nervous disorders.
14 Willis was convinced that the brain and spinal cord played a much larger role than previously realized in the genesis of many illnesses, including hysteria. ”16 Elsewhere, Willis demonstrated beyond doubt on the autopsy table that patients who had been diagnosed with hysteria in every case disclosed no structural uterine abnormalities. Thomas Sydenham agreed. A founder of modern clinical medicine and epistemology, Sydenham (1624–1689) was among the first physicians to emphasize the maintenance of detailed medical records and the unbiased observation of patients.