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Freud gave his star hysteric the name of his sister's maidservant, Dora (O'Neill 80).
50, followed by the comment that she "was repeatedly held up as the ideal specimen of hysteria"; and, elsewhere, that hypnotism "create[d] an artificial world in which hysterical symptoms could be reproduced and transformed, a world in which the hysteric could be completely mastered" (62), then, several lines later, that it "create[d] an 'artificial' hysteric in whom doctors could reproduce symptoms at will [...]," and finally, on the next page, that "the hysteric was under the complete control of her magnetizer."
On her arrival, Bourneville wrote, "Everything about her announces the hysteric," yet his characterization is puzzling: he describes "the care she takes in her toilette; the styling of her hair, the ribbons she likes to adorn herself with." The impression he gives is of a fastidious young woman, keen to be attractive and well-presented, and his photograph of her in her "normal state" seems to bear this out.
This paper re-examines Dora from a contemporary feminist perspective and challenges the notion that the female hysteric offers subversive potential.
In The Hysteric's Revenge: French Women Writers at the Fin de Siecle, Rachel Mesch does much more than rescue these women writers from scholarly oblivion.
Perhaps most importantly, because Irigaray (following Lacan) recognizes the ways in which subjectivity is shaped by the symbolic order, the realm of culture and ideology, her theorization of hysteria allows for a broader sense of social-historical trauma than that permitted by Freudian theory, which focuses on the hysteric's relationship to her family.
Dianthe's representation as an hysteric suggests that repressed sexual trauma lies in her past.
As Breuer and Freud tell us, "the hysteric suffers mostly from reminiscences" (1936, 4).
In my own effort to present an interpretation that negotiates these two readings--one focusing exclusively on fantasy as style, detached from any external ties, the other focusing exclusively on the realistic references to this novelistic fantasy scenario--I want to explore the murky interface between a hysteric heroine's much ado about nothing, treating hers as a realistic representation of psychosomatic distress, where illness stands in for fantasies gone awry on the one hand, and on the other hand, her author's stylistic ado about nothing, itself the articulation of a hysteric malady by representation, given that the text self-consciously does not refer to an external reality but rather to other texts.
Juliet Mitchell notes that Freud's problem was to assume that had Dora not been a hysteric, she would have accepted the advances of her suitor, Herr K., loving him as she had loved her father, thus following the expected Oedipal tendencies.
Apparently, in the 21 century, Europe has productive ground for a hysteric demonstration of hatred, force and negation of human values because Macedonia strongly feels the scent of these human evils that forcefully hit us from the outside, but also from the inside, says Gusterov.
The Hysteric's Revenge details how some women writers in turn-of-the-century France have employed themes and images associated with hysteria in order to subvert, add to, and generally complicate the notion of the "hysterical woman." In this process, their novels represent female authorship and women characters in new, culturally meaningful ways.