July 1966

Hysteria, The History of a Disease.

Author Affiliations

By Ilza Veith, MD. Price, $7.95. Pp 301, with many illustrations. University of Chicago Press, 5740 Ellis Ave, Chicago 60637, 1965.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(1):90-91. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290130092020

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This is a delightful book which all historians of medicine, all neurologists, all physicians, and many laymen can greatly enjoy. Dr. Veith is a distinguished medical historian who has trained under the great Henry Siegerist. In order to write this book she obviously has done an enormous amount of research. She tells us how common a disease hysteria has been. She has gone back to Egyptian times and has found material on hysteria in some of the Egyptian medical papyri written as long ago as 1900 BC. Already at that time hysteria was attributed to the displacement of the uterus. It is remarkable that this curious and easily disprovable idea persisted until recent times. It did this in spite of the fact that any physician with good powers of observation and an open mind could have seen that men and boys sometimes suffer from unmistakable hysteria.

I can remember that

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