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Janet, Poor Law, Psychiatric Criticism, & More

The September 2012 issue of History of Psychiatry has just been released online. Included in this issue are a number of articles that may be of interest to AHP readers. Articles in the issue address the work of Pierre Janet (left) on automatic writing, the how England’s the old poor law dealt with the insane, a history of psychiatric criticism, and much more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Automatism, Surrealism and the making of French psychopathology: the case of Pierre Janet,” by Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau. The abstract reads,

This article deals with the clinical use of ‘automatic writing’ by the French psychologist Pierre Janet at the fin de siècle and its later appropriation by Surrealist poets during the inter-war period. Of special interest are the acknowledged influences of Surrealism’s leading representative. Why did André Breton, in his mythical love affair with Freudianism, systematically silence his indebtedness to the Janetian model of the mind? In order to examine this question we turn to a little-studied theme: Janet’s increasing distance from Spiritism and psychical research. In seeking to establish his new discipline within a medical framework, Janet erected barriers between the psychological sciences and such seemingly ‘extra-scientific’ fields. In so doing, he placed himself at odds with other members of the intellectual community who saw in the automatic manifestations of the mind a source of exalted creativity.

“The nature of King James VI/I’s medical conditions: new approaches to the diagnosis,” by Timothy Peters, Peter Garrard, Vijeya Ganesan, and John Stephenson. The abstract reads, Continue reading Janet, Poor Law, Psychiatric Criticism, & More

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