By Jonathan W. Marshall
This textual content offers a research of Jean-Martin Charcot, a founding determine within the background of neurology as a self-discipline and a colleague of Sigmund Freud. It argues that Charcot’s diagnostic and pedagogic versions, explaining either how disorder is well-known and defined and the way to educate the act of neurological analysis, could be thought of via a theatrical lens. contemplating the structure of the residing, relocating physique when it comes to functionality, Charcot created a scenario wherein the road among misleading appearing and actual pathology, medical accuracy and inventive falsehood, and certainly among healthiness and unhealth, turns into blurred. The health practitioner turns into a clinical topic in his or her personal reveal, reworking medication right into a in all probability destabilizing, even grand guignolesque, discourse. supplying a distinct perception into Charcot’s paintings, his techniques and his tools, this article represents a special and interdisciplinary research slicing around the fields of artwork and neurology.
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Extra resources for Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot
Marey later made available to Charcot and his associates “pneumographic” machines or “tambours” with counterweighted arms which wavered in time to bodily movement. These mechanisms were then connected to a revolving barrel of graphite-coated paper, or in some cases fitted with an internal CHARCOT, SPECTACLE, AND THE MISE EN SCÈNE OF THE SALPÊTRIÈRE 29 Fig. 1 Marey tambour; Source: Richer, Études (1885), 630. Courtesy of the Boston Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine surface for recording tremors.
Rayer had referred the banker Achille Fould to Charcot’s care, and Fould later became Finance Minister under the Republic. Charcot knew many other senior Republicans personally, including the most influential of them all: Léon Gambetta. Charcot’s almost unequalled position as senior physician of the Third Republic led him and his associate, professor of legal medicine Paul-Camille-Hippolyte Brouardel, to attend at Gambetta’s autopsy in 1883. In 1893 the pair were appointed to determine if the main defendant in the financial scandal of the French Panama Canal Company float— Cornelius Herz—was fit to return from Britain to France to stand trial.
Within this chapter I bring forward some of the characters who drove the narrative of Charcot’s career, whilst emphasizing the place of the image and the role of location and scenography within Charcot’s dramaturgical reception: the place which framed the mise en scène of Charcot’s career and practice. Whilst the extensive use of iconographic and photographic material at the Salpêtrière is frequently commented on, this is rarely seen as functioning within a larger framework of physical, theatrical, and choreographic analysis.