Hysteria Today

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Hysteria, one of the most diagnosed conditions in human history, is also one of the most problematic. Can it even be said to exist at all? Since the earliest medical texts people have had something to say about 'feminine complaints'. Over the centuries, theorisations of the root causes have lurched from the physiological to the psychological to the socio-political. Thanks to its dual association with femininity and with fakery, the notion of hysteria inevitably provokes questions about women, men, sex, bodies, minds, culture, happiness and unhappiness. To some, it may seem extraordinary that such a contested diagnosis could continue to merit any mention whatsoever. Hysteria Today is a collection of essays whose purpose is to reopen the case for hysteria and to see what relevance, if any, the term may have within contemporary clinical practice.