The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By Allan Young | Go to book overview

Introduction

AS FAR BACK as we know, people have been tormented by memories that filled them with feelings of sadness and remorse, the sense of irreparable loss, and sensations of fright and horror. During the nineteenth century, a new kind of painful memory emerged. It was unlike the memories of earlier times in that it originated in a previously unidentified psychological state, called “traumatic,” and was linked to previously unknown kinds of forgetting, called “repression” and “dissociation.”

The new memory is best known today in connection with a psychiatric malady, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association as part of its official nosology in 1980, and it rapidly attracted the attention of clinicians and researchers throughout the Americas, Britain, Australia, Scandinavia, and Israel. Soon afterward, a contributor to the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that he had discovered evidence of the syndrome in the Diary of Samuel Pepys, in the pages where Pepys describes his mental condition following the Great Fire of London in 1666 (Daly 1983:67). Pepys's self-reported symptoms are said to correspond to the diagnostic features listed in the official nosology—intrusive images of his frightening experience, feelings of detachment and estrangement, survivor's guilt, memory impairment, and so on— and the Diary is said to establish that PTSD existed in the past. In the following years, writers uncovered progressively earlier historical evidence of PTSD. The shadow of traumatic memory was spied beneath the surface of this passage from Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part One (Trimble 1985:86):

Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee Thy stomach, pleasure and golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth, And start so often when thou sit'st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks, And given my treasures and my rights of thee To thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy? 1

More recently, evidence of PTSD has been discovered in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which takes the disorder and its memory back to the dawn of recorded history (Boehnlein and Kinzie 1992:598; also Parry-Jones and Parry-Jones 1994).

In the following chapters, I argue that none of these writers—neither Pepys, nor Shakespeare, nor the author of Gilgamesh—was referring to the

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 327

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.