Hysteria: the 'other language' of femininity?
This article attempts at showing a characteristic evolution of perception of the genealogy of female hysteria within the confines of psychoanalytical tradition. Starting from Freud's approach where hysteria was unambiguously associated with female sexuality, contestable attempts at 'rehabilitating' the latter made by Horney or Klein, through to Lacan's, Irigaray's or Kristeva's concepts, each of whom, in his or her peculiar way, tries to evade both the simplifications of a Freudian patriarchalism and a biologism like the one represented by the author of Female Sexuality. What all those concepts or approaches have in common is their failure at completely overcoming the identification of hysteria with the 'nature' of femininity, although they seek to draw dissimilar consequences from it. The question is whether one should rather radically break with such identification, rather than see a 'different language' of femininity in hysteria?
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