New issue of “Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences”

3.coverA new issue of Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is available online. The July issue 2014 contains the following article that may interest readers of h-madness.

Cadaver Brains and Excesses in Baccho and Venere: Dementia Paralytica in Dutch Psychiatry (1870–1920) by Jessica Slijkhuis and Harry Oosterhuis

This article explores the approach of dementia paralytica by psychiatrists in the Netherlands between 1870 and 1920 against the background of international developments. The psychiatric interpretation of this mental and neurological disorder varied depending on the institutional and social context in which it was examined, treated, and discussed by physicians. Psychiatric diagnoses and understandings of this disease had in part a social–cultural basis and can be best explained against the backdrop of the establishment of psychiatry as a medical specialty and the specific efforts of Dutch psychiatrists to expand their professional domain. After addressing dementia paralytica as a disease and why it drew so much attention in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this essay discusses how psychiatrists understood dementia paralytica in asylum practice in terms of diagnosis, care, and treatment. Next we consider their pathological–anatomical study of the physical causes of the disease and the public debate on its prevalence and causes.

    • philip
    • July 14th, 2014

    You may be interested in an article of mine just published in the July 2014 issue of Psychoanalysis and History http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/pah.2014.0150

    Briefly ‘Subterranean Histories’ it is a companion piece to my article on Ernest Jones – ‘Footnotes in the History of British Psychoanalysis’ – which was published in the previous issue of Psychoanalysis and History (January 2014) http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/pah.2014.0138?queryID=

    IN ‘Footnotes’ I argued that Jones only discovered Freud’s writings in September 1907 and did not start practising psychoanalysis until late 1908 that is after he had moved to Canada. This revision of Jones’s autobiographical account has opened a significant gap in the early history of British psychoanalysis. In my second paper, ‘Subterranean Histories’ I explore this gap to reveal that from around 1904 there was a growing awareness of Freud’s work in at least two significant British medical journals [The Journal of Mental Science and the British Medical Journal] with the result that by the time Jones returned to London from Canada (c1911) there were already widespread debates about the merits or otherwise of psychoanalysis. What is more my researches have also revealed that various forms of psychoanalysis were being used by a number of medical psychologists in private practise and in Hospitals and, perhaps most surprising of all, that a small group of psychiatrists working in the Long Grove Lunatic Asylum had already started experimenting with psychoanalysis as early as late 1908 (at about much the same time as Jones).

    I add the abstract of ‘Subterranean Histories’ for your ease of reference.

    In his late historical and autobiographical writings (the late writings) Ernest Jones makes two interrelated claims. The first, which he passes off as an historical fact, is that by 1904 there were ‘three sources of information available to [him]’ about Freud (Jones, 1945b, p. 9). The second, which he makes by way of an autobiographical statement, is that he was already practising ‘the new therapy’ of psychoanalysis by 1906. Contemporaneous sources challenge the unspoken assumptions that run through Jones’s late writings: that there was little or no discussion of Freud’s ideas in Britain between 1904, when Jones claims he first started reading Freud, and November 1913 when he founded the London Psycho-Analytic Society. For reasons difficult to fathom Jones’s version of history has been accepted almost without question. Lifting Jones’s historical and autobiographical veils reveals a very different story: that when Jones first returned from Canada, in 1911, there was already a vibrant debate concerning the merits, or otherwise, of the new Freudian psychology and there were a number of doctors already treating patients with psychoanalysis or its variants. The paper concludes with a re-examination of Jones’s relationship with M.D. Eder.

    I hope that this is of interest and that you will be happy to post a link to my work. I am also happy to send you copies of the two articles if you wish

    Thank you for your time

    best wishes

    philip kuhn

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