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Iconographie Photographique de la Salpêtrière: The Physician and the Hysterical Women

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The Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière (1876-80) features the female patients of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (1925-1893), ‘the father of neurology’, during his time as medic at the Salpêtrière hospital and asylum in Paris. Hysteria is the first mental disorder attributable to women, “accurately described in the second millennium BC, and until Freud considered an exclusively female disease.”

The photographs reproduced are labeled according to the stages of hysteric attack as Charcot identified and named them.

 

mental health paris 1800s Chalcot hysteria

 

Published in Paris by Les Bureaux du progrès médical between 1876-1880, this three-volume book features words and images from two of  Charcot’s students, Desiré Magloire Bourneville (1840-1909) and Paul-Marie-Léon Regnard (1850-1927).

 

mental health paris 1800s Chalcot hysteria

mental health paris 1800s Chalcot hysteria

mental health paris 1800s Chalcot hysteria

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Jean-Martin Charcot  worked and taught at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, originally a saltpetre factory before it was set up as something of a dumping ground for prostitutes and the criminally insane in the 17th century. The 19th century brought humanitarian reforms in the treatment of mentally disabled criminals and La Salpêtrière was reconceived as a psychiatric hospital under Charcot’s stewardship.

 

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mental health paris 1800s Chalcot hysteria

  • sasha

    If i may add a few things: its was not Freud but Pinel who was the first to consider hysteria bigender. And Charcot identified these stages in a very specific context: due to renovations in la Salpétrière he had to put together hysterical women and epileptic patients, an hysterical person is like a sponge, they absorb everything around and they absorbed the epileptic crisis. Hence, he though he discovered a brand new pathology which in fact was just an odd set of circumstances.

    • flashbakcom

      Sasha, thank you.

  • Barry Rivadue

    1825, not 1925. 🙂