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Main page » Non-Fiction » Joseph Conrad and Psychological Medicine by Martin Bock

Joseph Conrad and Psychological Medicine by Martin Bock


Beginning with a social history of late-nineteenth-century medical psychology and hysteria studies, Bocks study presents a clear and readable synopsis of fin-de-sicle theories of nervous disorder and moral insanity, shows how Conrads doctors were trained in medical theories that privilege the physiological over the psychological, and describes what Conrad endured during his water cures at Champel-les-Bains and in an English culture that constructed nervous disease - particularly his diagnosed neurasthenia - as a feminine disorder. "Joseph Conrad and Psychological Medicine" reads Conrads fiction medically, showing how Conrads work focuses on such narrative strategies as Conrads rhetoric of hysteria and enervation and his vivid, nervous descriptions, and it shows how major tropes such as restraint, seclusion, and water all treatments for insanity - were important issues in the medical discourse of Conrads day and are themes that run through Conrads fiction. Bocks study also suggests that Conrads major breakdown of 1910 was an epiphany, an event Conrad feared for decades but that afterwards allowed him to shift the interests of his fiction. The post-breakdown fiction offers less brooding and more allegorized narrations of Conrads medical history as he moves towards a greater acceptance, late in his life, of his gender and sexuality.

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Tags: Conrad, preFreudian, perspective, Psychological, Medicine, Joseph