Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:

2015-11-06_11h09_55

Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Cappello, M. (1988). Alice James: “Neither Dead nor Recovered”. Am. Imago, 45(2):127-162.

(1988). American Imago, 45(2):127-162

Alice James: “Neither Dead nor Recovered”

Mary Cappello

I. Illness and Femininity; Hysteria and Writing

As I listen to the work of particular women who have achieved voice in twentieth century English-speaking culture, Plath, Sexton, and Woolf, for example, I am led to the question of whether a woman can do the new things with words that her self-expression calls for without getting ill or being perceived as ill; and, further, if she can make the necessary aesthetic gesture that compels her toward a new position in the community, in language, and stay alive. It is a general question for now, but it grows, for me, out of the particular phenomenon of hysteria as recorded in case studies and diaries of the nineteenth century.

Hysteria, the elusive playing out of often untranslatable signifiers on the female body, stands (or, more often, lies, writhing or numb) as a representation of what a woman could or couldn't, would or wouldn't, say. Hysteria is an outcome of the simultaneous compulsion toward and deflection of the position of object in a culture's definition of desire. Consequently, it gives birth to a “talking cure”: a dialogue between circumvention and discovery; between the patient as analyst and the analyst as patient; between a new kind of patient and a revolutionary healer.

Since nineteenth century physicians named the womb as cause of all female ailments, it is not surprising that this nebulous “new” neuro-physio-psychological disorder would be called “hysteria.”

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.