In: KulturPoetik 2017, Heft 1


Katrin Max


Antizipation des culture-bound syndrome? Kulturell bedingte Prägung der Wahrnehmung von Krankheit im ausgehenden 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert am Beispiel der Hysterie




This article investigates hysteria during the 19th and early 20th centuries as variously portrayed in both medical sciences and literature and relates them to aspects of the contemporary empirical investigation of apriority (›Empirisierung des Transzendentalen‹). It is based on the observation that concepts of hysteria changed significantly during this period. Hysteria, however, is not only to be described as a culture-bound syndrome, but the variability of symptoms according to the medical methods used leads to the questioning of evidence-based medicine in such cases. Thus doubt was cast on the possibility of objectivity in science in general. Texts in cultural history show this tendency (Nordau, Schleich), and literary texts (H.C. Andersen, Fontane, Schnitzler, Th. Mann) draw on different concepts of hysteria.