Reading List: Bella

Keywords/Key Terms

  1. Male Hysteria
  2. Shell-Shock vs. Hysteria
  3. Anxiety in Literature

Secondary and Theoretical Works

  1. H. Rivers, “The Repression of War Experience”, The Lancet (December 1917) Report of the War Office Committee of Enquiry Into ‘Shell-Shock’ (1922). London: Imperial War Museum (2004).
  2. Goldstein, Jan. “The Uses of Male Hysteria: Medical and Literary Discourse in Nineteenth-Century France.” Representations, no. 34, 1991, pp. 134–165.
  3. Scragg, Andrew. “Rudyard Kipling and Shell Shock: ‘More than a Man Could Bear.’” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, vol. 59, no. 2, 2016, pp. 175–190.
  4. Tracey Loughran. “Shell Shock, Trauma, and the First World War: The Making of a Diagnosis and Its Histories.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, no. 1, 2012, p. 94.
  5. Macdonald, Kate. “Rethinking the Depiction of Shell-Shock in British Literature of the First World War, 1914–1918.” First World War Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, Mar. 2017, pp. 37–61.

Academic Journal

  1. SIGNS (University of Chicago Press)

In the fall of 2017, one of the modules I took at UEA was a course called “Nervous Narratives”. Since that class, I have been curious about the repetitive theme of feminizing mental disorders, particularly anxiety-based disorders—within late 18th through mid 19th Century societies and literature. I worked with librarians to narrow down keywords and key terms, because I found that before, my keywords/terms were too broad and often steered me away from the literary realm. Unfortunately, the professors I wanted to meet with were unavailable until later this week. However, I am meeting with both Professor Kersh and Professor Seiler in the upcoming days to discuss other possible sources.

One of the terms above, “male hysteria” came about, after I was advised by librarian Chris Bombaro, to combine the largest and broadest keywords/terms that were essential to my paper. As I am looking into the feminization of anxiety in literature, I decided to combine “masculine” and “hysteria” and immediately got results more applicable to my subject. Moreover, the results broadened my list of possible primary texts. After a brief email exchange with my UEA professor, Professor Cath Sharrock, I was given a list of literary texts to look at, which includes Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, Pat Barker’s Regeneration, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud’s Studies On Hysteria, and S. Weir Mitchell’s Doctor and Patient. This list, though very broad in scope, will hopefully provide example and understanding from both the “medical”—Freud and Mitchell—remedies and mindsets, which I can then use to analyze and form my own understanding of the literary texts of Woolf, Barker, and Perkins Gilman. Some of my articles that were listed at the top of this also include literature which I may include later on.

Though my meetings with other English Department professors are forthcoming, I have had discussions with my advisor, Professor Sider Jost, about my subject idea for my thesis. I was originally set on solely investigating the question of “why is anxiety portrayed as feminine?” but Professor Sider Jost was quick to have me break that question down. I now would like to explore: how literature portrays anxiety within women and, in comparison, within men? Why are these distinctions and differences in portrayal—if there are any—important? Why feminize anxiety/mental disorder? How does literature combat or reinforce this feminization? What is a “masculine” mindset according to literature?