Hysteria and ‘The Dove’…Things to Ponder Over..

26 Jun

Some ideas to contemplate in terms of characterisation…..The two female protagonists (Vera and Amelia) in Djuna Barnes’ ‘‘The Dove’ could be seen as diverse representations of the late Victorian notion of Hysteria. They can be seen as two diversely affected women.

Is Amelia an example of the later 2 phases of hysteria?

Freud’s stages of hysteria are as follows:

1. The Aura

2. the attack properly speaking (with screaming, pallor, loss of consciousness and muscular regidity)

3. the chronic or clownish stage (large movements, contortions, and theatrical gesture, imitating the expression of grand passion. Amelia?

4. the final phase of resolution (sobbing, tears and laughter).

And is Vera the victim of psychically acquired hysteria?

Here’s a quote from Freud and is observation of a case study called Anna:

‘This girl who was bubbling over with intellectual vitality, led an extremely monotonous existence in her puritanically minded family. She embellished her life in a manner probably influenced her decisively in the direction of her illness, by indulging in systematic day-dreaming. While everyone thought she was attending, she was living her life through fairy tales in her imagination

Here’s an interesting video by a technology historian on the Big Think Website…A Really good, humorous background overview

And here’s another link to a website which gives you a feel for the history behind hysteria

Also Wikipedia: Hysteria

Also here’s the link to some information on Spiritualism, which is directly linked to the Amelia/Dove Relationship and underpins the play considerably.

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