The Best Doctor Is Also a Historian
The Rootcutter's inaugural essay series aims at exploring connections between ancient and modern medicines—and not only the connections we make, but also why we make those connections and what impact they have on how we think about and conduct modern medical practices, both as healthcare experts and as service users. This series has been generously funded by the Society for Classical Studies Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities grant.
Rethinking Catharsis: Gender, Mental Disorder, and Emotions
by Jessica Wright
July 26, 2022
A 19th-century German literary scholar introduces a medical interpretation of the ancient Greek theatre term "catharsis" that shapes future approaches to mental disorder. Wright examines this history of this term and shows how literary and psychotherapeutic theories continue to influence one another.
Dr Jessica Wright is a historian and essayist. Recent work includes "On What Is in Our Power" (Michigan Quarterly Review) and "On Sponges" (Foglifter Journal). Her first book, The Care of the Brain in Early Christianity, is forthcoming from UC Press (2022).
Image: Bust of Aristotle. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC. Ludovisi Collection. Public Domain.
Image: Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt, c. 1921. Public Domain.
Image: Group of similar age votive uteri from Italy. From left to right: Votive uterus, wrinkled, terracotta, Italy. Science Museum Group.
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.