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Gilles de la Tourette's criminal women: the many faces of fin de siècle hypnotism.
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Gilles de la Tourette's criminal women: the many faces of fin de siècle hypnotism.

Author: J Bogousslavsky Affiliation: Department of Neurology & Neurorehabilitation, Clinique Valmont, Glion/Montreux, Switzerland. jbogousslavsky@valmontgenolier.ch; O Walusinski
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Clinical neurology and neurosurgery, 2010 Sep; 112(7): 549-51
Summary:
Gilles de la Tourette is now known for the disease which now bears his name, but his activities in the management of hysterics and in hypnotism, which gained him most of his lifetime reputation, have been largely forgotten. As one of the closest followers of Jean-Martin Charcot, he always remained faithful to his mentor's views, and was one of the most vehement defenders of La Salpêtrière school during the quarrel  Read more...
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Details

Named Person: de la Tourette G
Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: J Bogousslavsky Affiliation: Department of Neurology & Neurorehabilitation, Clinique Valmont, Glion/Montreux, Switzerland. jbogousslavsky@valmontgenolier.ch; O Walusinski
ISSN:0303-8467
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 672169960
Awards:

Abstract:

Gilles de la Tourette is now known for the disease which now bears his name, but his activities in the management of hysterics and in hypnotism, which gained him most of his lifetime reputation, have been largely forgotten. As one of the closest followers of Jean-Martin Charcot, he always remained faithful to his mentor's views, and was one of the most vehement defenders of La Salpêtrière school during the quarrel with Hippolyte Bernheim and the Nancy school on the question of the specificity of hypnotic susceptibility in hysteria. This controversy became critical during medico-legal assessment of crimes supposedly committed under hypnotic suggestion. Gilles de la Tourette's involvement in criminal hypnotism was striking, as shown by his own experiments, the most famous of which being his suggested poisoning of a colleague by Blanche Wittman, the celebrated Charcot's hysteric patient in the 1887 Brouillet's painting. Gilles de la Tourette also acted as expert in murder trials, and his Epilogue in the Gouffé's trunk case, where he affirmed that no murder in real life could be due to hypnotism, and considered that Gabrielle Bompard, the murderer's accomplice, was not under hypnotic suggestion, had a considerable impact. Finally, he was confronted to the issue of murder under hypnotism in his private life, since in 1893, a former patient, Rose Kamper, came and shot him in the head at his home, claiming that hypnotism sessions had changed her own person, and that she had been hypnotized "at distance". These acts from three very different "hysterical" women highlight the Salpêtrière's theories on hypnotism and their inner contradictions in the fin de siècle ambiance, a few years before Joseph Babinski renewed the concepts on hysteria.

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