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- DescriptionThe Man who thought he was Napoleon is built around a bizarre historical event and an off-hand challenge. The event? In December 1840, nearly twenty years after his death, the remains of Napoleon were returned to Paris for burial - and the next day, the director of a Paris hospital for the insane admitted fourteen men who claimed to be Napoleon. The challenge, meanwhile, is the claim by great French psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol (1772-1840) that he could recount the history of France through asylum registries. From those two components, Laure Murat embarks on an exploration of the surprising relationship between history and madness. She uncovers countless stories of patients whose delusions seem to be rooted in the historical or political traumas of their time, like the watchmaker who believed he lived with a new head, his original having been removed at the guillotine. In the troubled wake of the Revolution, meanwhile, French physicians diagsed a number of mental illnesses tied to current events, from revolutionary neuroses and democratic disease to the ambitious momania of the Restoration. How, Murat asks, do history and psychiatry, the nation and the individual psyche, interface? A fascinating history of psychiatry - but of a wholly new sort - The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon offers the first sustained analysis of the intertwined discourses of madness, psychiatry, history, and political theory.
- Author BiographyLaure Murat is professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Deke Dusinberre is a freelance writer and translator.
- Author(s)Laure Murat
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication26/09/2014
- SubjectRegional History
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Content Note35 halftones
- Weight544 g
- Width90 mm
- Height60 mm
- Spine25 mm
- Foreword byDavid A. Bell
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