Sigmund Freud, Anna
Whilst Anna O's, or rather Bertha Pappenheim's place in the history of hysteria, and subsequently psychoanalysis, is undoubtedly crucial, we must, in order to understand her own condition and that of her case biographers, place this infamous patient in her rightful historical context.
Hysteria's long history has always been acknowledged, indeed medical writers throughout its duration, and particularly in the last two centuries, have referred tenderly to its classical ancestry, to its glorious "founding father", Hippocrates. For such medical writers the existence of an ancient tradition, of hysteria diagnosis and treatment, has harboured a righteous belief in the sanctity of the category, in medical efforts to control the disorder and in the universality of hysteria as a disease category. However, as recent studies have revealed, in particular, the work of Helen King, the Hippocratic texts to which physicians have charted their lineage- The Nature of Women and Diseases of Women, may well lack the medical and linguistic cement that was, in the history writing of hysteria, always assumed to be there. …
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