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The fasting girl : a true Victorian medical mystery

Author: Michelle Stacey
Publisher: New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, ©2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the lives of everyday Americans were being transformed by new ideas and inventions, from electric lighting to cross-continental trains to Darwin's shocking theory of natural selection. Newspaper headlines blazoned stories about the half-completed Brooklyn Bridge - and about eighteen-year-old Mollie Fancher, who was either a genuine miracle or the worst kind of fraud. How  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Case studies
Biographies
Named Person: Mary J Fancher; Mary J Fancher; Mary J Fancher
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Michelle Stacey
ISBN: 1585421359 9781585421350
OCLC Number: 48429258
Description: 336 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Contents: Preface: the hunger artist --
The accident --
La Grande Hystérie --
"Dead and yet alive!" --
Dr. Hammond's war --
The nervous American --
Feeding on air --
Pure hunger --
From soul to mind --
"A mystery to this day" --
Hysteria's echo --
The end of the enigma.
Responsibility: Michelle Stacey.
More information:

Abstract:

"Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the lives of everyday Americans were being transformed by new ideas and inventions, from electric lighting to cross-continental trains to Darwin's shocking theory of natural selection. Newspaper headlines blazoned stories about the half-completed Brooklyn Bridge - and about eighteen-year-old Mollie Fancher, who was either a genuine miracle or the worst kind of fraud. How and why the nation became obsessed with the Fancher enigma is the subject of The Fasting Girl." "In June 1865, shortly before she was to be married, Fancher was flung from a horsecar and dragged behind it in agony. As a result, she suffered a myriad of strange symptoms, and took to her bed - where she became, in the words of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "the most talked-about sick person in the world."" "Why? Because Fancher, experiencing chronic paralysis, trances, and seizures, was also reportedly able to "live on air." For more than a decade, it was widely reputed, she ate almost nothing. Her case became a lightning rod for physicians and theologians who locked horns over her controversial ability, inspiring a frenzy of tabloid hype and scientific debate." "The Fancher case has remained an unsolved mystery ever since. How, and how much, did she eat? Was Mollie a media-hungry fraud, playing on a public desire for miracles, or simply hysterical, emotionally disturbed, delusional? Was she history's first victim of anorexia nervosa, or a sufferer of anorexia mirabilis, the medieval phenomenon of "fasting saints"? Or was she merely a product of her time and place - an anxious crossroads of nineteenth-century nervousness and twentieth-century neurosis, heightened by rapid industrial progress and an intensified pace of life?"--Jacket.

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