Performing Neurology

The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot

Authors: Marshall, Jonathan W.

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About this book

This text provides a study of Jean-Martin Charcot, a founding figure in the history of neurology as a discipline and a colleague of Sigmund Freud. It argues that Charcot’s diagnostic and pedagogic models, explaining both how disease is recognized and described and how to teach the act of neurological diagnosis, should be considered through a theatrical lens. Considering the constitution of the living, moving body in terms of performance, Charcot created a situation whereby the line between deceptive acting and real pathology, scientific accuracy and creative falsehood, and indeed between health and unhealth, becomes blurred. The physician becomes a medical subject in his or her own display, transforming medicine into a potentially destabilizing, even grand guignolesque, discourse. Offering a unique insight into Charcot’s work, his concepts and his methods, this text represents a unique and interdisciplinary analysis cutting across the fields of art and neurology.

About the authors

Jonathan W. Marshall, born on February 22, 1970, is an interdisciplinary scholar who has published on the relationship between neurology and the arts, as well as photomedia, sound art, butoh dance, Australian painting and choreography, and other topics. Marshall is a freelance critic and reviewer of contemporary arts. He is currently based at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth.

Reviews

“Marshall argues that Charcot is “best understood through the lens of dramaturgy. He demonstrates the spatial and temporal implications of Charcot’s neurological practice as steeped in neo-classical aesthetics and deeply attuned to scenography, showmanship, and stage production. Using convincing evidence drawn from critiques of Charcot, Marshall demonstrates … that the power and danger of mixing medicine and theatrics was not lost on Charcot’s contemporaries.” (Maia Woolner, New Books network, newbooksnetwork.com, May, 2018)


“Drawing on a range of textual, artistic, architectural, and photographic materials, Marshall offers a vivid analysis of Charcot’s neurological dramaturgy from the laboratory to the lecture hall. … Marshall’s compelling study troubles neat distinctions between theatre and medicine, knower and known, rational and irrational, and pathology and health in and beyond the space of Salpêtrière, as theatricality moves center stage in this rich archaeology of neurological practice.” (TDR: The Drama Review, Vol. 62 (3), 2018)


“This is an erudite cultural history that encompasses medicine, visual art, cultural thinking and theatre in the later decades of the nineteenth century in a thoughtful analysis that integrates these divergent elements fluently. Ambitious in its scope, at the same time the book is highly detailed and impresses with its descriptions of the medical and artistic milieu surrounding major figures. ” (Peta Tait, Australasian Drama Studies, Vol. 71, 2018)


Translated from French:

“Moving through the different sites for the constitution and exercise of the Charcotian dramaturgy, Marshall offers a new course through which to look at the master [Charcot]’s thinking … [Marshall] brings the rich contributions of theatrical theory and art history to the analysis of Charcotian works, illustrated for example by the study of the paintings of the Salpêtrière and their strategic use … Overall, Marshall’s work is for the cultural historian an interesting immersion in the work and methods of Dr. Charcot, offering a unique perspective on this major neurologist whose immense oeuvre remains even now, by and large, for us yet to discover and study.” (Alexandre Klein: H-France Review, Vol. 17 (134), August, 2017)

“The potential readership for this new book is quite broad, and interested readers new to the topic will profit, but also those who are familiar with the large literature on Charcot but open to new perspectives will find insightful reading within this very well-organized book. … Contemporary neurologists … will learn from this analysis and reflect on their own practice and teaching methods with a greater sensitivity to verb and tense as we ‘perform’ our neurological examinations daily.” (Christopher G. Goetz, Brain: A Journal of Neurology, Vol. 140 (6), June, 2017)


Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51762-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51761-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Performing Neurology
Book Subtitle
The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-51762-3
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-51762-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-51761-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 277
Number of Illustrations
10 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
Topics