2013-04-22Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/6663
Watch your attitude, young lady
Die Vorstellung der Histrionikerin und die Hysterie der Schönen Seele
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Kulturwissenschaft
In 1980, the term „Hysteria“ disappeared from the international catalogue of mental disorders DSM-III and was replaced by HPS, „Histrionic personality disorder“. The article traces the histrionic genealogy of hysteria to the 18th century, where aesthetic and ethical discourse, culminating in the idea of the „beautiful soul“, developed at the same time as the concept of an anthropological theory of acting underwent a crucial change: Bodily signs were no longer conceived of as secondary signifiers of an inner emotion but as media and / or transmitters of affect. This paradoxical structure—the demand for internal, intuitive emotions and the complex coding of their „natural“ outward representation specifically within feminine behavioural norms—is exemplified by the biography of Emma Hamilton, whose famous „attitudes“ prefigure Augustine’s hysterical „attitudes passionnelles“ at the Salpêtrière in the 1870s.
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