BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Witnessing through the skin: the hysteric's body

    Segal, Naomi (2009) Witnessing through the skin: the hysteric's body. Journal of Romance Studies 9 (3), pp. 73-85. ISSN 1473-3536.

    Text (Refereed)
    JRS9.3_Segal_(Hysterics).pdf - Published Version of Record

    Download (171kB) | Preview


    How does the hysteric bear witness through her body? This article looks at ways in which, from antiquity to the present day, the hysteric has borne witness to the anxiety of her time, age and sex through the speaking surface of her skin. In the 8th century CE a doctor tears the veil off the caliph’s concubine; in the Renaissance physicians and witch-finders look for stigmata; in the eighteenth century hysteria is located in ‘the nerves’; in the early twentieth century Charcot displays hysteria to audience or camera and Freud ‘wipes away’ the memories of Frau Emmy von N. What anxieties mark the surface of the troubled young woman of today? In its conclusion, this article suggests that it is exposure that haunts the outside of her body, circling it without protection, in a world where ‘health’ is not a pleasure but a duty.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): psychoanalysis; women; touch; hysteria; the body; skin; Freud; gender; surface-effect
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Naomi Segal
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 10:22
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:32


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item