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November 19, 1898


Author Affiliations

Professor of Physiology of the Nervous System in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago (Medical Department of the University of Illinois). CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1898;XXXI(21):1200-1203. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450210001002

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That hysteria is a cerebro-spinal neurosis is now an accepted fact. In its many neuromimetic manifestations it presents both a psychic and a purely neurotic front. It is a mental trouble, but has associated with it at times undoubted sensory-motor disturbances. Sir James Paget used to say that the hysteric exclaims, "I can not;" that it looks much as if it were "I will not;" but that in reality it is, "I can not will." This is one of those clever generalizations that cover much knowledge, but still leave much unsaid. Certain paralyses and anesthesiæ of hysteria can not well be attributed to volitional influences, at least in their late manifestations. Something more than a mere oblivion of the will power must be invoked to account for some of the singular phenomena revealed in connection with the special senses. Many of the visceral and vasomotor symptoms are clearly beyond the

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