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y separately published work icon Hysteria single work   autobiography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2020... 2020 Hysteria
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'When Katerina Bryant suddenly began experiencing chronic seizures, she was plunged into a foreign world of doctors and psychiatrists, who understood her condition as little as she did. Reacting the only way she knew how, she immersed herself in books, reading her way through her own complicated diagnosis and finding a community of women who shared similar experiences.

'In the tradition of Siri Hustvedt's The Shaking Woman, Bryant blends memoir with literary and historical analysis to explore women's medical treatment. Hysteria retells the stories of silenced women, from the 'Queen of Hysterics' Blanche Wittmann to Mary Glover's illness termed 'hysterica passio'  a panic attack caused by the movement of the uterus — in London in 1602 and more. By centring these stories of women who had no voice in their own diagnosis and treatment, Bryant finds her own voice: powerful, brave and resonant. 

''Hysteria is a timely and exciting work, keenly interested in the long history of women being treated — and mistreated — by the medical system, and the ways in which their complicated legacy is still being felt today. At once deeply personal and broadly political, it is a touching and tender examination of what it means to live in a body and with a brain that is aberrant or unwell, and how we might find a shape for our selves and our experiences in these circumstances. Bryant is a careful and intelligent writer, and this is a book that will have a great impact on many people.' — Fiona Wright 

''At once devastating, hopeful, comforting and bold. Bryant captures precisely, beautifully what it is to be made uncertain by illness.' — Anna Spargo-Ryan

''Katerina Bryant explores the disorienting and distressing phenomenon previously known — and denigrated — as 'hysteria' with compassion and insight.' — Meera Atkinson'

Source: publisher's blurb

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: NewSouth Publishing , 2020 .
      image of person or book cover 3393524908526333091.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 208p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published September 2020
      ISBN: 9781742236773

Works about this Work

How Memoir Writers Are Reframing Illness Clare Doughty , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , January 2021;

'Contemporary writers are demystifying the experience of illness, demanding health care be approached as a community issue rather than an individual battle.'

Hysteria as Object as Archive Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2020;
[Review] Hysteria Ellen Cregan , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , October 2020;

— Review of Hysteria Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work autobiography
Rebel Bodies Jessica White , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2020;

— Review of Show Me Where It Hurts : Living With Invisible Illness Kylie Maslen , 2020 single work autobiography ; Hysteria Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work autobiography
'In my early years as an undergraduate, I sat in a lecture theatre for one of many courses on women’s writing. I was a naïve deaf girl from the country and these classes set my mind fizzing. That mild, autumnal morning, I sat up straight, waiting for the lecture to start. The lesson that came, with my lecturer’s dry humour, was about the wandering womb – the notion that women’s hysteria was caused by a womb that detached and moved around the body. Its history stretches back to the Eber Papyrus, an Egyptian medical record from around 1600 BCE, which explains that to ‘cure’ a patient, the uterus needed to be lured back to its rightful place through the administration of pleasant smells near the vagina, or feral smells near the head, forcing it down. In ancient Greek, womb and word were yoked – the Greek word for ‘uterus’ is hystera – and Greek physician Hippocrites first used the term ‘hysteria’ in the fifth century BCE. He suggested that the sexually frustrated uterus caused symptoms of anxiety and suffocation, while another physician, Aretaeus, described the womb as ‘an animal within an animal’. To marginalise women – particularly recalcitrant women – these physicians deemed their bodies faulty, unreliable and irrational, and set up a contrast to their coherent male counterparts. In my lecture, I snorted with disbelief at such absurd ideas and assumed they remained in history books, like dust bunnies behind a bathroom door.'
Rebel Bodies Jessica White , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2020;

— Review of Show Me Where It Hurts : Living With Invisible Illness Kylie Maslen , 2020 single work autobiography ; Hysteria Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work autobiography
'In my early years as an undergraduate, I sat in a lecture theatre for one of many courses on women’s writing. I was a naïve deaf girl from the country and these classes set my mind fizzing. That mild, autumnal morning, I sat up straight, waiting for the lecture to start. The lesson that came, with my lecturer’s dry humour, was about the wandering womb – the notion that women’s hysteria was caused by a womb that detached and moved around the body. Its history stretches back to the Eber Papyrus, an Egyptian medical record from around 1600 BCE, which explains that to ‘cure’ a patient, the uterus needed to be lured back to its rightful place through the administration of pleasant smells near the vagina, or feral smells near the head, forcing it down. In ancient Greek, womb and word were yoked – the Greek word for ‘uterus’ is hystera – and Greek physician Hippocrites first used the term ‘hysteria’ in the fifth century BCE. He suggested that the sexually frustrated uterus caused symptoms of anxiety and suffocation, while another physician, Aretaeus, described the womb as ‘an animal within an animal’. To marginalise women – particularly recalcitrant women – these physicians deemed their bodies faulty, unreliable and irrational, and set up a contrast to their coherent male counterparts. In my lecture, I snorted with disbelief at such absurd ideas and assumed they remained in history books, like dust bunnies behind a bathroom door.'
[Review] Hysteria Ellen Cregan , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , October 2020;

— Review of Hysteria Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work autobiography
How Memoir Writers Are Reframing Illness Clare Doughty , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , January 2021;

'Contemporary writers are demystifying the experience of illness, demanding health care be approached as a community issue rather than an individual battle.'

Hysteria as Object as Archive Katerina Bryant , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2020;
Last amended 22 Feb 2021 13:02:28
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