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Mad Men And Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria And the Effects of Sibling Relations On the Human Condition Paperback – 7 Dec 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (7 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140176519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140176513
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,270,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

In 1974, Juliet Mitchells groundbreaking Psychoanalysis and Feminism presented the (then largely unpopular) case for a feminist engagement with psychoanalytic theories of sexuality and the unconscious. Nearly three decades later, Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effect of Sibling Relationships on the Human Condition is another key intervention on a topic of hysteria, which has been central to the development of both psychoanalysis and feminism. Arguing against one influential (psychiatric) account of hysteria as the disease that has disappeared in the course of the 20th century, Mitchell re-opens the debate on the meaning of hysteria from a number of different psychoanalytic and cultural perspectives. There is no way in which hysteria cannot exist, she concludes (aware that such a statement risks both universalism and essentialism); it is a particular response to particular aspects of the human condition of life and death. Mitchell is especially concerned to question, and displace, the neglect of sibling relationships in psychoanalysis (the dominance of the Oedipus complex as a site of intergenerational conflict) at the same time as she brings the topic of lateral relations--with sibling, peers, partners--into contact with the concept of the death drive in psychoanalytic thought. This is an ambitious, and often complex, task, one that Mitchell traces through a range of contemporary debates (on male hysteria, trauma, memory, multiple personality) as well as some of the key texts in the psychoanalytic canon. In Dora: A Fragment of a Case of Hysteria in a Female, for example, Mitchell returns to one of Freud's most controversial cases to re-interpret it in terms of Doras relationship with her brother. Elsewhere, she turns to clinical and literary characters--Don Juan, Iago--to further this important new psychoanalysis of the reach, and significance, of that elusive state of hysteria. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a newcomer to psychoanalysis...reading the book purely because Juliet Mitchell leads a gender group I attend at university. However, regardless of this..."Mad Men and Medusas" is a book I would recommened to everyone - whether they understand/know anything about psychoanalysis or not. Although I finished this book in a relatively short space of time - the questions raised by it are still whizzing around my head. I had never given hysteria a second thought -it was just a phrase. This book has made me want to know more...I want to look at Freud in a different way. I am inspired to look at other cultures as Mitchell has. She so vividly engages with the reader, and one is submerged in the world of hysteria - from all angles. Maybe an experience reader would view this book differently - [I do feel rather inexperienced/naive to be writing a review - yet I think if I can understand it, and get pleasure from it - ANYONE can...and indeed should.] - but the only thing I can liken it to is "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder. I shall read "Mad men and medusas" many times.....perhaps as I get older and have more firm views....I shall consider it differently...but at the's amazingly interesting - and captivative. Read it and you'll know what I mean!
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