American Nervousness, 1903

Tom Lutz, American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991). This is a strange one, but offers and interesting and valuable perspective on neurasthenia in its heyday primarily through the use of literary sources. Lutz takes what can loosely be described as a microhistorical approach with the goal of showing how a … More American Nervousness, 1903

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Before Freud

F. G. Gosling, Before Freud: Neurasthenia and the American Medical Community, 1870-1910 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987). Gosling provides a history of neurasthenia before Freud entered the scene of American psychology that considers those outside the “elite” group of physicians (Beard, Mitchell, and co.) who developed the concept in the late 19th century. As … More Before Freud

Exhaustion and the Pathologization of Modernity

Anna Katharina Schaffner, “Exhaustion and the Pathologization of Modernity,” Journal of Medical Humanities 37, no 3 (2016): 327-341. Argues that “exhaustion,” typically paired with other, varying symptoms, has factored into medical discourse in the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and has functioned as a medicalized critique of technological advancement. Looks at works by George … More Exhaustion and the Pathologization of Modernity

Intimate Climates

Vladimir Jankovic, “Intimate Climates: From Skins to Streets, Soirees to Societies,” in Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate eds. James Fleming, Vladimir Jankovic, and Deborah Coen, 1-34 (Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications, 2006). In this chapter, Jankovic is interested in the dichotomy of the indoor/outdoor and in understandings … More Intimate Climates

Selling Air

John Beckerson and John K. Walton, “Selling Air: Marking the Intangible at British Resorts,” in Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity, and Conflict ed. John K. Walton, 55-68 (Channel View Publications, 2005). In this chapter, Beckerson and Walton analyze promotional material and medical/scientific opinion on air as a draw to different health resorts. They describe its … More Selling Air

The Politics of Medical Topography

Harriet Deacon, “The Politics of Medical Topography: Seeking healthiness at the Cape during the nineteenth century,” 279-297, in Pathologies of Travel eds. R. Wrigley and G. Revill (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000). Deacon focuses primarily upon the imperial, moral, and economic reasons that Cape Town faded as an important health resort spot in the 19th century. It … More The Politics of Medical Topography

Inventing Caribbean Climates

Mark Carey, “Inventing Caribbean Climates: How Science, Medicine and Tourism Changed Tropical Weather from Deadly to Healthy,” Osiris 26, no. 1 (2011): 129-141. In this piece, Carey traces changing European and North American perceptions of Caribbean climates from 1750-1950. He argues that these understandings were not shaped only by the climactic science; rather, they were constructed around … More Inventing Caribbean Climates

Water Cures and Science

George Weisz, “Water Cures and Science: The french Academy of Medicine and Mineral Waters in the Nineteenth Century,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 64, no. 3 (1990): 393-416. In this piece, Weisz discusses institutional and individual attempts in nineteenth century France to place mineral waters and the therapies that involved them on a biomedical, … More Water Cures and Science

Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840

Christopher Hamlin, “Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840,” Medical History, Supplement No. 10 (1990): 67-81. Hamlin, much like he does in A Science of Impurity, discusses the role of chemistry in the legitimization of health spas. He argues that their domination of the conversation was not due to any sort of revolution … More Chemistry, Medicine, and the Legitimization of English Spas, 1740-1840