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Cinema Hysteria Course at Freud Museum

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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In the nineteenth century, hysteria was considered a medical condition that was exclusive to women. The 'illness' included symptoms such as fainting, insomnia, nervousness, fluid retention, and a loss of or increased libido. In 1859, one physician claimed that one quarter of the female population suffered from hysteria, and that it was caused by the stresses of everyday life. These unfounded beliefs were influenced by (and reinforced) the idea that women are the weaker sex.

Sigmund Freud was one of the men who made this diagnosis, although he reclassified it as anxiety neurosis, and said it had to do with repressed sexual desires.

Although the twentieth century saw a decline in such diagnoses in the medical profession, the media all but sensationalised it. Especially in the US, where Hollywood films often display women for voyeuristic purposes.

A series of conferences at the Freud Museum is going to be held during the new year. Starting from the 6th January, Mary Wild (appropriately named) is leading the discussion on Projections: Cinema Hysteria. The three week course costs 35 or 30 concessions, with classes running at 7pm on Mondays. You can also book individual lectures for 14 or 12 concessions.

Wild is a Freudian cinephile from Montreal, and will be asking questions such as 'what does it mean to be a woman? an 'what do women want?' She will cover themes on seduction, demons, and transcendence by looking at films like The Seven Year , Black Narcissus, La Dolce Vita, Alien, and Mary Poppins.
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Why? Learn something interesting
When: 6th-20th January
Phone: 44 (0)20 7435 2002
Where: Freud Museum
Cost: 35 adult, 30 concessions
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