Read e-book online American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History PDF

By Jenell Johnson

ISBN-10: 0472119443

ISBN-13: 9780472119448

American Lobotomy reports a large choice of representations of lobotomy to provide a rhetorical background of 1 of the main notorious approaches within the background of drugs. the advance of lobotomy in 1935 used to be heralded as a “miracle therapy” that will empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. although, merely 20 years later, lobotomists at the beginning praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has in basic terms soured in next a long time. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technology fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy thought to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a strong photo of the operation that persists to at the present time. The ebook provocatively demanding situations the heritage of drugs, arguing that rhetorical background is important to realizing scientific heritage. It bargains a case examine of ways medication accumulates which means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally located perform.

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Famous and infamous, good doctor and brutal slasher, a representative character in both history books and horror films—­Walter Freeman is himself a medical marvel. Chapter 1 Thinking with the Thalamus The Rhetoric of Emotional Impairment He said he did not seem to be able to worry about things. It made him worry because he didn’t seem to be able to worry. 1 Diagnosed with “agitated” depression, sixty-­ three-­ year-­ old Alice “complained of nervousness, insomnia, depression of spirits, anxiety, and apprehension” and often “laughed and wept hysterically” (Freeman and Watts 1950, xviii).

Freeman and Watts 1950, xviii) 20 Thinking with the Thalamus 21 The operation took about four hours. ” She did not mention the loss of her beloved curly hair. Alice Hammatt lived at home until her death in 1941 from pneumonia. Her husband later wrote Walter Freeman to thank him, describing those five years as the “happiest of her life” (Freeman and Watts 1950, xix). Lobotomy’s primary objective was to “blunt” strong emotions in order to return mentally ill people to “productive” roles in their families, communities, and the economy.

Afraid of and disgusted by the living patients, Freeman allowed himself physical contact Thinking with the Thalamus 23 with their bodies in the safe, sterile space of the pathology laboratory, where he set out to learn “all [he] could about the brain of the psychotic” (1970, 14–­ 2). When he examined the brains of St. Elizabeth’s patients after their deaths, however, Freeman was “challenged” by his observation that people who appeared so abnormal on the outside were indistinguishable from “normal” people on the inside.

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American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson


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