Hysteria: Trauma and Desire


My talk 'Hysteria: Trauma or Desire' uses the case of Frau Emmy von N (Freud: 1895, Studies in Hysteria) to challenge the shift from explaining hysteria through infantile seduction (trauma) to understanding it as a male-negotiation of the Oedipus complex (desire). Recent additions to theories of hysteria still operate within the framework of that transition.I am not returning to this early trauma theory as do Recovered Memory Movement advocates of the psychological causality of childhood abuse, but rather re-reading the trauma of hysteria through later concepts as in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) and the notion of the castration complex. Using later notions of trauma, I argue for the importance of the trauma of the sibling or lateral relationship in the aetiology of hysteria. This I believe interacts not with object-love but with narcissistic-love and object-hatred.Juliet Mitchell is Professor Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies and a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge. She is a Full Member of the International Psychoanalytic Society. Her books include: a new edition of Psychoanalysis and Feminism (2000); Selected Melanie Klein (2000, Penguin); Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effects of Sibling Relations on the Human Condition (2000, Penguin); Women: the Longest Revolution; Psychoanalysis and Feminism and Women's Estate. Her latest book, Siblings: Sex and Violence, was published by Polity Press in October 2003. Juliet Mitchell is married to anthropologist Jack Goody and has one daughter and five step-children. She lives in Cambridge, U.K.Die deutsche Übersetzung des Vortrages ist ab 7. Januar 2005 per E-Mail im Sekretariat erhältlich.