By Jonathan W. Marshall
This textual content presents a learn of Jean-Martin Charcot, a founding determine within the background of neurology as a self-discipline and a colleague of Sigmund Freud. It argues that Charcot’s diagnostic and pedagogic types, explaining either how affliction is famous and defined and the way to educate the act of neurological prognosis, may be thought of via a theatrical lens. contemplating the structure of the residing, relocating physique when it comes to functionality, Charcot created a scenario wherein the road among misleading appearing and actual pathology, clinical accuracy and inventive falsehood, and certainly among wellbeing and fitness and unhealth, turns into blurred. The health care provider turns into a clinical topic in his or her personal show, reworking medication right into a probably destabilizing, even grand guignolesque, discourse. providing a special perception into Charcot’s paintings, his techniques and his equipment, this article represents a special and interdisciplinary research slicing around the fields of paintings and neurology.
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Extra info for Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot
3 THE VERSAILLES OF MISERY, THE BASTILLE OF MEDICINE The Salpêtrière was well known to the European public as the setting for dramatic encounters. 25 The Salpêtrière itself featured prominently in newspaper articles and even tourist guidebooks. In addition to acting as a frame for Charcot’s own practice, the hospice was a common setting for commentaries which CHARCOT, SPECTACLE, AND THE MISE EN SCÈNE OF THE SALPÊTRIÈRE 33 drew upon the Catholic ideal of redemptive suffering, the piteous spectacle which this provided, as well as the popular interest in recent scientific discoveries and innovations.
The Nouvelle iconographie published several other similar studies, including a “cinematographic” examination of hemiplegic stagger by Charcot’s former student, the Romanian Georges Marinesco. The full cinematic capture of the moving body represented the logical culmination of Charcot’s otherwise apparently iconographic process. Images were not primarily important in themselves. They were rather used as an aid for the description of action, or that which occurred in the realm of performance and movement.
The Salpêtrière’s impressive facade was set back behind the main gate, which enclosed a large, treelined courtyard—the cour d’honneur—leading up to the two main wings which flanked the chapel. 34 The skeletal forms of the trees and the venerable entrance only evoked in Claretie a sense of suffocating silence and hidden misery which united the decayed patients with their surrounds. What is significant here is the tendency to read bodies in terms of their mise en scène, and vice versa. Barely within the walls of the hospice, Claretie already began to feel the doleful effects of the space.