NABOKV-L post 0010469, Sat, 30 Oct 2004 12:16:27 -0700

Subject
Re: Fwd: ADA: hysteria - hysteritis
Date
Body

The source of the word hysteria and others like it is in Greek. It
meant, loosely "bottom" ("hysteron proteron" could be translated
roughtly as colloquial "bass ackwards"). It was especially used
with reference to felmale sexual organs (one thinks "hysterectomy"
the removal thereof. Late nineteenth century and early twentiety
century psychotherapists etc, including Nabokov's cherished Dr
Sigmund Freud, attributed most aberrant female behavior and
psychoneurotic conditions to problems (including "traumas") based
on their sexual organs. Dr Freud has, I believe, a whole book
on "Hysteria", although he also said that he didn't understand
women! Havelock Ellis also devoted space to these problems.

We can thus connect the "hysteria" thread in _Ada_ with the
"bottom" "motif" Boyd has dealt with. Suspected instances of
"aberrant female behavior" in the case of Ada would be
covered by the term, whether this involved sexual excesses,
or the opposite.

Please don't take these as expert or professional statements, but
as a starting point. Many times a seemingly common term like
"hysteria" means different things to people at present and to
earlier persons, and to experts versus laymen.

John

----- End forwarded message -----
EDNOTE. And let us not forget Mr. Nymphobottomus of Speak, Memory!