In this Book

Idioms of Distress
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summary
This interdisciplinary study examines the enigmatic category of psychosomatic disorders as articulated in medical writings and represented in literary works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Six key works are analyzed: Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin, Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass, Brian O’Doherty’s The Strange Case of Mademoiselle P., and Pat Barker’s Regeneration. Each is a case study in detection as the hidden sources of bodily ills are uncovered in intra- or interpersonal conflicts such as guilt, family tensions, and marital discord. The book fosters a better understanding of these puzzling disorders by revealing how they function simultaneously as masks and as manifestations of inner suffering.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. PART I: Hiding and Seeking Distress
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. CHAPTER ONE. Speaking through the Body
  2. pp. 3-18
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  1. CHAPTER TWO. Swings of the Historical Pendulum
  2. pp. 19-36
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  1. CHAPTER THREE. The Mysterious Leap
  2. pp. 37-52
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  1. CHAPTER FOUR. Literary Patients
  2. pp. 53-70
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  1. PART II: Metaphors of Distress
  2. pp. 71-72
  1. CHAPTER FIVE. “ A Strange Sympathy betwixt Soul and Body”: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  2. pp. 73-92
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  1. CHAPTER SIX. Nerves: At the Interstices of Physiology and Psychology: Emile Zola, Thérèse Raquin (1867)
  2. pp. 93-110
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  1. CHAPTER SEVEN. “A Sick Spot on the Body of the Family”: Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks (1900)
  2. pp. 111-128
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  1. CHAPTER EIGHT. “Legs Turned to Butter”: Arthur Miller, Broken Glass (1994)
  2. pp. 129-148
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  1. CHAPTER NINE. Substance and Shadow: Brian O’Doherty, The Strange Case of Mademoiselle P. (1992)
  2. pp. 149-168
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  1. CHAPTER TEN. Shell Shock: Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991)
  2. pp. 169-190
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  1. CHAPTER ELEVEN. Outing the Distress
  2. pp. 191-200
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 201-210
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 211-220
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 221-225
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