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sistibly calls up a vague consciousness of artistic finish. The peculiar charm of all smaller and more delicate forms rests in part on this vague feeling of fine workmanship. So, too, all perfect regularity and symmetry satisfies this feeling for perfection of handicraft. And, on the other side, departures from regularity, when they suggest the idea of bad workmanship, are, as I have already remarked, distinctly unpleasant.
In addition to these widespread abstract associations with form, there are more circumscribed and concrete associations depending on a vague resemblance to some agreeable natural form. Of these associations the suggestions of human form constitute the most valuable esthetic element. The supreme interest of the human presence makes us ever ready to see analogies to the human attitude and mode of movement in inanimate nature, and so we fall into the habit of attributing a quasi-human interest to the drooping plant, the stalwart tree rejoicing in its battles with the wind, and the venerable mountain looking down on our lower earth with an expression of Jovian calm. Art, when not distinctly imitative, owes something to these vague suggestions. Thus, we are disposed to transform supporting columns into caryatides before art itself transforms them for us. Next to the human figure, other of the more beautiful organic forms may furnish such associations to the eye. Thus, the Corinthian capital, and forms frequently found in ornamental design, please the eye in part through a vague feeling of their plant-like character.
The reader may perhaps expect us to assign the relative values to these various factors in agreeable form. But psychology is not yet a quantitative science; and, this being so, æsthetics must be content with enumerating the elements, without seeking to measure exactly their relative values. I have insisted on the presence of a direct sensuous element in visual form apart from the pleasures of light and shade. In daily experience we may not be aware of the pleasure which ocular movement in its real or ideal form is fitted to yield, just because our eye usually attends to these movements only as signs of important objective facts. But, when this significance is withdrawn, as in a decorative arabesque design, we may easily become aware of the pleasurable character of such movement. And it must be supposed that this element enters as a very appreciable factor into the whole delight which sculpture and architecture afford us. Even though not a considerable pleasure in isolation from other modes of enjoyment, it may contribute a valuable factor to such a compound æsthetic impression.*
But, though emphasizing these elementary motor experiences of the eye as a factor in agreeable form, I would not exaggerate their importance. It must be remembered that the experiences of touch and
According to Fechner's principle of æsthetic support, “Vorschule der Asthetik," p. 50, et seq.
extra-ocular movement are inseparably embodied with ocular feelings of movement in the eye's perception even of form elements, and the former are at least equally valuable with the latter. For the rest, I attach much value to the intellectual factor in the appreciation of form—that is, the coördination of numbers of these slightly pleasurable elements under agreeable relations of unity and proportion. Taking the factors just named as the direct factor, and contrasting them with the less directly associated elements as the indirect factor, I should say that the former decidedly outweighs the latter in what we call beauty of form. Every beautiful form will, I think, be found to, owe its charm in the main either to the specially pleasurable character of its elements (ocular or tactual), or to the presence of a large number of distinct aspects of variety and unity. The former is the beauty of simple forms, the latter that of intricate forms.
HYSTERIA AND DEMONISM.*
A STUDY IN MORBID PSYCHOLOGY.
BY CHARLES RICHET.
very few persons who have been in Paris have visited the Salpêtrière. A home for old age, an asylum for the insane, are not tempting spectacles, and it pleases us rather than otherwise to be unmindful of the fact that within the great city of Paris is included another city of aged women and mad people, which contains nearly five thousand inhabitants. The Salpêtrière is designed primarily as an abode for infirm old women, and would afford materials for a very curious study of psychology in the observation of the feelings and passions of its inmates to any one desirous of analyzing the effects of age on human intelligence. This study may be attempted some day, but our present purpose is different. Among the insane who are confined in the Salpêtrière are patients who would formerly have been burned, whose disease would have passed for a crime three centuries ago. The study of the malady under which these unfortunates suffer, in its present and past aspects, affords a new and instructive chapter in the history of human thought.
In pursuing the present inquiry, we shall endeavor first to describe the psychological symptoms of hysteria. The knowledge of this disease has received a remarkable development under the careful investigations of the physicians of the Salpêtrière, and it may be that some of the facts they have discovered will interest persons who are not ac
* Translated from the “Revue des Deux Mondes " by W. H. Larrabee.
quainted with medical science. We shall next inquire into the character of the demoniacal affections which were described in former centuries, and examine the strange succession of errors by which men were led to affirm that the devil took up his lodging in human bodies, and that it was necessary to burn him, to destroy those poor bodies which had become the receptacles and accomplices of malevolent spirits. Lastly, we shall review the history of the great trials for witchcraft in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A chronological order would require that we should begin with the notice of demonism in the past, and close with the study of the corresponding affections of the present, but the reverse is the logical order. We shall follow with more interest the relation of the superstitions which led our ancestors astray, after we have become better acquainted with the facts that have been elucidated by contemporary investigators. In order to be able to judge error aright, we must first be acquainted with the truth.
An erroneous opinion prevails as to the causes and nature of hysteria. Romancers, particularly those who call themselves naturalists, have not neglected to propagate the doctrine that hysteria is an erotic disease. This is far from being exact. There is no relation of cause and effect between hysteria and celibacy; and we can speak of hysteria, study its causes, and describe its symptoms without infringing upon delicacy. It is a nervous disease, which has no more to do with sexual passion than other nervous diseases, and, notwithstanding the dread which it excites in half-instructed persons, we can say boldly that that dread is not justified. The facts that prove this point will appear shortly.
The asylum for the insane at the Salpêtrière is behind the buildings which are inhabited by the aged women.
The hysterical patients are confined here. They are collected together in one part of the hospital, and bave been for several years under the care of M. Professor Charcot. This learned physician, being desirous of apply. ing to the nervous affections the exact methods which are employed in physiology, has established near the halls reserved for the patients a laboratory where precise studies of the most delicate phenomena of the pathology of the nervous system may be carried on. A photographic room is attached to the laboratory, in which exact representations of the principal phases of the attacks of hysteria, epilepsy, and somnambulism, have been obtained.* In this manner we have succeeded in securing minute descriptions of a class of psychological phenomena 80 strange and fantastic that, hardly more than three centuries ago, men saw in them the breath of the devil and of all the demons of hell.
Some persons may be surprised to learn that hysterical patients are
* These photographs, which are very instructive in the study of nervous diseases, form the publication of MM. Bourneville and Regnard, entitled “Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière.”
confined in the Salpêtrière, for it has not been usual to regard hysteria as a grave disease necessitating or justifying seclusion. It is not always so grave. The disease manifests itself in every degree. Just as we may suffer a burn that is so superficial that we can hardly feel it, while there are other burns so deep and extended that they lead to death ; just as there are light fevers and also fevers that are speedily mortal—so there are light hysteriæ, almost imperceptible, constituting a disposition of the organization rather than a disease, and besides them there are grave hysteriæ, so grave that they are confounded with insanity, with general paralysis, and with epilepsy. At the Salpêtrière, there are hardly any other hysterical cases than those of grave hysteria ; as to light hysteria, it may be found everywhere. When the doctors speak of a nervous woman, they say an hysterical woman; and this language, though it may sound unpleasantly in a conversation or a romance, is not out of place in a psychological study, for what is commonly called nervousness in a young woman is simply hysteria.
I imagine that every one is more or less acquainted with the oddities of character exhibited by nervous women. All their feelings are carried to an extreme. The most trifling event is enough to provoke enthusiasm or despair in them. Nobody can cry so easily. It even seems to me that they control the fountain-key of tears, at least so as to make them flow, for to put a stop to them is another affair. To say that hysterical persons will cry for a small matter is saying too little, for they will cry for nothing; they will be all of a sudden possessed of an indefinable grief, an incomprehensible, vague sorrow, which it is not possible to resist. It is like a ball that rises from the chest to the throat, hinders respiration, and causes suffocation. They must retire, hide themselves in the most obscure corner, and there, where they are not seen or heard, sob for hours ; then, suddenly, the fit of sorrow will cease and give place to a surprising gayety.
All that it has been customary to attribute to the nervous temperament of woman enters into the domain of hysteria. The appetite is capricious, fantastic : to-day, for example, everything displeases, and it is impossible to accept a particle of nourishment; to-morrow, all will be changed and nothing will suffice to appease the hunger. Generally, hysterical persons have a marked taste for vinegar and green fruits—a diet certainly not favorable to health. Such irregular and deficient alimentation impedes general nutrition and impoverishes the blood, and, by a kind of circular connection of disorders which is very common in pathology, the anæmia thus induced augments the hysteria which is the occasion of it; and young women suffering from it are more subject to hysteria than others.
As every one knows, the character of hysterical persons is very strange. We might say, borrowing an 'expression from the painters, that it is very picturesque, and presents points of view varied and always unforeseen. A young woman, for example, who yesterday had
a charming disposition, was docile and amiable, is wholly changed to-day. She will not endure the least observation, is discontented with everything, has a bad look for everybody, breaks all rules, and is quite ungovernable. Her indocility is the more surprising, because it arises suddenly without cause, and disappears in the same manner. Self-love is always extravagantly developed. The most trifling pleasantry often becomes a cruel offense, to be borne with indignation, which tears enough can not be shed to protest against. Everything becomes the subject of a drama. Existence appears like a scene in a theatre. The regular, quiet life of every-day routine is transformed by the hysterical woman into a series of grave events, adapted to all sorts of dramatic developments. The hysterical sufferers continually play with an equal success at tragedy and comedy amid the flat scenes of reality. They can not comprehend simplicity in life, but make life a complication. Terror, jealousy, joy, anger, love, everything is exaggerated out of proportion with the just and measured feelings which are becoming.
Every human being, I believe, is moved by two opposing forces, sentiment and will. With the will we succeed (or think we succeed, which amounts to the same thing) in taming the feelings, in silencing the instinctive and passionate exuberance of the brute nature, we become masters of ourselves, compos sui, as the ancients said. We know that it is good to tell this, to conceal that, that there are noble sentiments and base passions, that we ought to obey the former and crush the latter. Hysterical persons do not know this, they do not comprehend what is meant by the power of ruling the passions. Passion leads them, and they suffer themselves to be carried where passion takes them. If the wind of anger or jealousy blows, they give themselves up, without opposition, to anger or jealousy ; if it is the wind of charity or obedience, they are charitable or obedient. If the fancy to say what is impertinent or incongruous crosses their brain, the impertinent or incongruous saying is uttered. They are somew like persons who have taken hasheesh, and float off on the waves of fancy or enthusiasm.
We can never know how to depend on the feelings of an hysterical person. Any attempt to forecast them would be rash, and we may have equally good reasons to expect to find her well disposed or discontented. Her feelings will be likewise of the most fleeting character, and she will not imagine that it is necessary to establish transitions between laughing and tears, anger and satisfaction. Her bad humor will last while you turn an hour-glass, and she will behave like children who burst out in laughing while the tears they have just shed are still rolling down their cheeks.
Notwithstanding this mobility, this irresistible spontaneity, the victims of hysteria are wholly wanting in sincerity. They are all more or less liars ; not so much, perhaps, that they are ready to tell selfish