Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
In recent years Jean-Martin Charcot has received a great deal of scholarly
attention. Feminists, art critics, cultural commentators, and medical historians
have all considered his life and work. Claims have been made for Charcot's
impact on late 19th-century culture, for example in the novels of Proust and
Huysman and in the work of Symbolist painters. Students of Freud have examined
Charcot to trace the influence he exercised on the young Sigmund. In conventional
accounts, Freud is portrayed as transforming Charcot's tentative explanations
of hysteria into the more sophisticated narrative of psychoanalysis. Opinions
on the "Napoleon of the nerves," as Charcot was dubbed in his day, have ranged
from seeing him as a pioneering clinician who highlighted the existence of
hysteria in men, to dismissing him as a self-deluding charlatan who "created"
his patients' symptoms.
Beveridge A. Charcot. JAMA. 2003;290(15):2069. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.2069