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Being profoundly influenced by Darwin, Spencer seized upon the idea of evolutionary regression manifest by racial deterioration and physical and moral degeneration. She very usefully links the idea of exhaustion of physical and sexual energy to the concept of entropy, the term coined in by Rudolf Clausius,42 to express the universal tendency of all.
The significance of this discovery 43 was not lost on Herbert Spencer, who could no longer regard human beings as fixedenergy systems, whose resources could be stored, and only served to increase his obsession with degeneration Labanyi, Gender From my perspective, it seems almost bordering on the perverse to disregard them. The authors devote a short paragraph to some of the physical features of delayed congenital syphilis and note the connection with the Spanish translation of the treatise of Lancereaux, though they do not mention the original recognition of the condition in by Hutchinson or its detailed description, reminiscent of Maxi, published by Fournier in She stresses admirably some of the ambiguities of degeneration such as that it was viewed as both a cause and a product of social ills Fuentes Peris and was attributed both to the ills of excess civilization and to those of regression to an uncivilized state Fuentes Peris I would add that such linking of moral and physical degeneration is entirely consistent with the long history of the theory as an explanatory device in which the two have always been inextricably connected, probably depending most of all upon the perspective of the observer.
The moralists of history have ever interpreted sickness and physical events in moral terms. I restrict my consideration to the part of her book dealing with Fortunata y Jacinta, relevant to this study. In Mapping the Social Body. The latter entity was very much recognized as a disease to the extent that a visiting psychiatrist, Donald Fraser, reported in that Esquerdo was treating it with phosphorus Fraser , a decade before its syphilitic cause began to be established by Fournier.
As with so many ideologies, it represented a form of control. He also quotes the criminal anthropology work of Cesare Lombroso. I intend to clarify this by showing that pathological facial features, in themselves, were not considered an essential feature of degenerative disease. I consider that such an evaluation betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory of degeneration,49 since degeneration was not interpreted in the early s as a complex of signs and symptoms that could necessarily be recognized by looking at a person, so much as being a theory of causation.
Equally, the physically unsullied Isidora in La desheredada is the daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister and mother of individuals clearly belonging to a degenerative pedigree, according to the beliefs of. Diseases were considered a manifestation of underlying degeneration. Degeneration was an etiology, not an independent disease.
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While it is true, as I shall show, that early attempts were made by an intern of Morel to establish physical features in degenerative madness such as a long skull with a receding forehead, abnormal ear lobes and undersized genitalia Doutrebente , Morel himself appears to have placed no great emphasis on physical features 52 and it was left to the criminal anthropologist Cesare Lombroso to list a larger number of physical features supposedly associated with the criminality he attributed to developmental regression.
Carlson, in contrast, states that Morel used the word stigmata only twice. By , Lombrosian criminal anthropology was on the wane and already becoming of mostly historical interest Maristany, gabinete I find no reference to Spain in either of these latter two works. Consistent with this, a Galdosian reference to Lombroso does not appear until Torquemada en el purgatorio published in The assimilation of degenerationist ideas in Spain always was very incomplete 55 and was conditioned by various social and professional factors that I discuss in chapter 2.
Was it essential for him to dress as a physician to be able to investigate what he saw? Could he not have seen almost as much as a non-professional guest of these establishments? A memorial bust to Tolosa was erected in the Retiro Park in , where it may still be seen in the La Rosaleda garden. He speculates that some doctors do not have time for, or resist the literary impulse and remain silent about many human dramas that would be most useful to writers.
He sees himself hampered by his lack of medical knowledge and his inability to study the physical and physiological features of his subjects that prevents him from seeing them more completely. In a striking comparison of himself as a distant and unsuccessful suitor,58 he continues,. This is scarcely the approach of a writer content to portray only the moral features of his characters. With degeneration an increasingly pervasive explanatory theory among the doctors about him, it is perfectly natural that he should assume it for his own purposes. He used this prevailing explanatory theory in order to portray some of the more tragic and unpleasant aspects of the human condition, as the new Naturalist vision demanded, in a way that had previously been impossible.
As a novelistphysician, however, his concern is not only with the fate of individuals, but also with the effect their collective suffering would have upon society as a whole and how much the future of that society might be threatened. Those fears were exacerbated further by disenchantment with the results of the liberal revolution that had been abandoned by the very middle-class that had prosecuted it. As the few disease and suffering afflicting Madrid society: this theme forms the basis of Vernon A.
Degeneration theory presumed to explain both. With this in mind, I have attempted to confine myself, in a historicist approach, to the medical, psychiatric, social and public health literature using degenerationist discourse on or before the publication of the second half of Fortunata y Jacinta in Anarchism, socialism, degenerationism and Lombrosian criminology would all loom much larger in the last decade of the nineteenth century when, in addition, Freudian psychoanalysis would make its debut. It appears to be not uncommon for critics to apply intellectual currents anachronistically 67 from the s to the s.
It is a commonplace that each succeeding age tends to interpret a great artist in its own image and the same might be postulated for literary critics. I suspect that it may belong more properly in the s. Similarly McKinney applies to the s an influence of Lombrosian criminology that would not, in fact, flourish until the following decade. As a degenerationist and determinist physician, only Pascal has sufficient understanding of heredity and human nature to understand the pattern and meaning.
Of these three only one, Zayas who essays to treat the dying Pepe Carrillo Lo prohibido , appears in the four novels of this study. Together with this technique of power comes that of normalization, the power to establish prescriptive norms,. In a sense the power of normalization imposes homogeneity, but it individualizes by making it possible to measure gaps, to determine levels, to fix specialities.
Foucault, Discipline This circulation of normalizing power through the discourse of literature inevitably remained in the hands of the literate middle-class that was determined to maintain its position of dominance. The theory of degeneration can thus be interpreted as a physicianly regime of truth. The anarchist movement attempted to subvert established structures and systems of power by turning their degenerationist rhetoric back upon them. In one of these lectures tracing the evolution of ideas in French nineteenth-century psychiatry, Foucault argues that at the beginning of the century, the specialty was seen less as a branch of medicine than as a variety of public hygiene.
He continues that it was necessary to codify madness as an illness in order that it fall beneath the rubric of medicine and be regarded as a hazard from which society had to be protected Foucault, Abnormal In other words, since psychiatry has functioned as knowledge and power within the general domain of public hygiene or protection of the social body, it has always sought to discover the secret of the crimes that all madness is in danger of harboring, or the kernel of madness that must haunt all individuals who may be dangerous for society.
In short [ Foucault, Abnormal Foucault here clearly expresses his view of the medicalization of power relations in society and the conflation of two varieties of the deviant, the criminal and the mad. Members of the legal profession in Spain, in addition to the many non-psychiatrist physicians, whose evidence was given equal value to that of alienistas, remained to be convinced that a defendant in a case of homicide could be mad without being obviously raving. The Marxist interpretation of power relations and the means of production has less relevance to the Madrid of the s, where industrial development was as yet negligible, than to the industrial capitals of Paris, London and Barcelona.
In la Corte, the majority of lower-class employment was devoted to serving the needs of the bourgeoisie and there was no proletariat comparable to that of the industrial regions in Spain of Barcelona, Bilbao and Asturias. Great disparity in wealth existed between Spaniards manifested by a rigidly-defined class system, in which the influence of the old aristocracy had given way to the power of the bourgeois nouveaux riches, and in which steady immigration from rural regions of Spain and absence of regular employment resulted in a huge, impoverished and potentially rebellious underclass.
Another Marxist insight, however, has more relevance to Restoration Madrid where the overwhelming control of society had passed to the middle-class. The latter is clearly much more down-toearth and is to be distinguished from the former, which was, in turn, contrasted with science. There are senses in which both usages can be applied to the theory of degeneration.
While the turbulent events of Restoration Spain are relatively well known, the ideas that were shared by psychiatrists and public health physicians have to be hunted for in their original publications and in the specialist literature. Many of the ideas that were then commonplace seem decidedly alien from the point of view of the twenty-first century, for it was before Freudian psychoanalytic theory, before the infectious origins of many diseases were understood and before the rediscovery of Mendelian genetics permitted a modern understanding of heredity.
The theory of degeneration was among them. Though the literacy rate must have been higher in Madrid than in Spain as a whole, it was still appalling low by modern standards. I propose to critique the novels from historicist, medical and Foucauldian perspectives that will reveal aspects of the novels previously ignored or under-appreciated in the critical literature.
I shall argue that, exacerbated by a tumultuous backdrop of war, revolution, industrialization and urban poverty, the cluster of social vices of alcoholism, tuberculosis, syphilis and madness, primarily considered to be associated with the urban poor, was seen to be especially dangerous. I propose to show that this theory served many purposes. In the hands of psychiatrists and hygienists it provided a conceptual means of coming to terms with fearful social realities.
At the same time it enabled physicians, as presumed distanced and objective specialists, to claim special knowledge as they exploited their professional understanding to enhance the status of their nascent professions, to elicit governmental support and to argue for increased power in society, both inside and outside the confines of the institutions of reclusion: the hospital, the asylum and the prison. I shall show that degenerationist thinking passed into the discourse of many fields of intellectual endeavor and that it was instrumental in the transition of Realist literature into that of Naturalism.
I shall emphasize the role of this middle-class-mediated theory, very much the construct of physicians, in defining the. Some of these have been thrown into relief by the extensive work of Spanish medical historians in the last two decades. Others appear to be perpetuations of misstatements in the secondary literature that have been relayed by authors who appear not to have consulted the primary sources that I have in preparation for this dissertation. There are six chapters followed by a Works Cited section. The second chapter feared Other [ These observations are entirely transferable to the situations in Spain and France.
A summary of the findings of the study appears in the Conclusions of chapter 7. Henri Mitterand. Most writers lived in cities and faced the problems of urban life at close quarters. In common with many city-dwellers, as the long tradition of pastoral literature illustrates, they were apt to idealize the health and vigor of those who pursued a rural existence and to compare the state of those who lived in towns unfavorably with that of country-dwellers. The ill-effects of urban life were considered to affect not only individuals directly, but also their offspring.
In the latter eighteenth century, natural philosophers were incorporating degenerationist thinking into theories of the origin of species and the races of man. The concept was applied to mental retardation and was used to account for mental disease and any behavior considered aberrant. Degenerationist thinking also entered the discourse of the developing science of hygiene or public health. Following the major political and social upheavals in early nineteenth-century France, degeneration came to be applied. Mainly remembered for a theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics that reflected received wisdom of his day and that was accepted by many contemporary natural historians.
Lamarck elaborated a theory of evolution in accordance with natural laws that involved ascent up a ladder of increasing complexity, associated with adaptation to the environment though use and disuse. It entered not only into the thinking of the medical profession, but also into the discourse of thinkers in the fields of history, sociology, biology, philosophy, anthropology and racial theory. The revival of rationalism in the eighteenth century Enlightenment was associated with a conception of science that was quite different from that found in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Roger This is not to suggest that all ideas after were empirically verifiable in the modern sense,89 but it does indicate a new freedom to theorize and to make direct observations, at least partly free from the influence of past authority.
Associated with this new, rational vision, however, was the. Pierre Gassendi : French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. He was one of the first to formulate the modern, scientific outlook characteized by scepticism and empiricism. Much later Western philosophy has been stimulated by his writings. One of the strengths of degeneration as a concept was the wide range and flexibility of its application. It could be thought of as an ancient and continuous process active since the Fall of Man, it could be seen as something that took place within a generation of corrupting urban life, or alternatively it might be considered the result of the ill-effects of civilization in an intermediate period.
The latter is famously illustrated, in the context of social and racial theory, by Rousseau 90 who wrote in ,. Rousseau, Discours Genevan philosopher, writer and ideologue of 18thcentury Romanticism. His political philosophy was influential in inspiring the French and American Revolutions. Following ancient tradition the concept of degeneration, both moral and physical, is a warning about how men should conduct their lives.
As with the warnings against miscegenation in ancient Hindu society and against corruption in Imperial Rome, the threat of degeneration is linked to the anxiety of commentators confronted by behavior or events seen as threatening to established, social order. From the time of Rousseau onwards, most of those threatening social changes appear to be related to the growth of cities Coleman 35 , and to the development of unstable polarization of society into leisured and impoverished classes.
The Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot 93 in saw the scholarly life as physically and morally degenerating partly due to a perceived association with onanism Vila 99, As in the criticisms of the earliest times, physical and moral are considered interrelated, such that degeneration affects either one or both. Related medico-social criticism was aimed at the artificiality of town life and focused on the affliction of the vapors later interpreted as a form of hysteria seen, above all, in women.
Excesses of study or debauchery, and overindulgence in tobacco, chocolate, coffee and fermented liquor are seen to sap the life force of the human race and to contribute to hereditary debility Vila Pierre Pomme : French physician who taught at Montepellier.
Through an increasing awareness of the fossil record and a dawning appreciation of an antiquity of the earth, undermining as it did Old Testament narratives, fascination developed for species that had no living representatives. He continues,. Hampson If there was to be any change in species since the Creation, it would have to be for the worse. The age-old metanarrative of degeneration from a distant Golden Age seems to have.
While a soldier, he served in the American Revolutionary War as the principal liaison officer between the French commander in chief and George Washington. The concept of degeneration was used to explain not only the origin of species of plants and animals but also the diversity of man himself. Accounting for the varied features of human races was an increasingly urgent intellectual problem as a result of contact with unfamiliar aboriginal peoples encountered in the process of French colonial exploration.
Such a definition forced him to conclude, in the face of opposing theories, that the human races were all part of a single species Sloan Inherent in this interpretation was the belief that Europe was the site of the creation of man and that degeneration in human races was greatest the further away from Europe they had traveled.
Buffon cited the Hottentot in Africa and the aboriginal peoples of North America and even postulated the orang-outang as a. Illustrations of the debate are to be found in the reports of Richard Lee and T.
Bendyshe before the Anthropological Society of London in see works cited. Long was convinced that negroes constituted a different species of the genus homo, that they were degenerate and that, as a result, black-white hybrids, like other inter-species crossings, would eventually become infertile Stuart Gilman The pragmatic need to justify slavery made this application of degeneration theory dominant during much of the nineteenth century Stuart Gilman He established the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology by comparing living animals with fossils. Cultivated plant varieties were considered to degenerate if allowed to revert to their wild state and domesticated animals were perceived as producing degenerate progeny when allowed to breed with inferior stock.
Denis Diderot : French philosopher, art critic, and writer. A discussion of degeneration almost entirely in a botanical context is that of Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemin, quoting the work of his mentor the Swiss botanist de Candolle. Guillemin He then goes on to subdivide the phenomenon: 1. Absolute, where organ development is so impaired that survival is limited, 2. Relative, when the organism is less useful and attractive than its human owner would like, and 3.go
The Famous 41
Mixed, where the organism, animal or plant, is bred to a desired state by man only to be weakened and die as a result. Examples of his mixed degeneration are domestic animals such as dogs, cows and horses that do not thrive in extremely hot or cold climates. The definitions of degeneration among natural philosphers and physicians between and vary greatly according to their interests and professional background.
The principal themes may be listed as follows A change from better to worse. This may affect a complete human being or may be used more technically to describe morbid anatomical changes seen in disease. It also comprises the deterioration of normal aging. The concept of regression or reversion to a more primitive state is frequent, used to describe reversion to earlier strains of plants and animals even before. Similarly, the dictionary of Beaude of restricts itself to a purely anatomico-pathological definition. Boeckel also includes the use of the word to indicate processes associated with normal aging.
Loss of the desired characteristic of a cultivated plant or a selectively bred animal variety as a result of uncontrolled breeding with wild or less desirable forms. Degeneration as a source of variation between related varieties and species, including the races of man. The flexibility and lack of precision of degeneration theory permitted an unresolved paradox. It could be used to account for the emergence of new life forms on the one hand, and regression to earlier, primitive forms on the other.
It could account for the the loss of primitive well-being in the course of civilization, or the reversion to savagery from a civilized norm. The more technical definition of Laennec, applied to changes in pathological anatomy limited to the tissues of a single organ as distinct from processes that extend across organ boundaries , is found in many of the nineteenth-century dictionaries and encyclopedias that I reviewed and still persists in current medical usage.
In the first half of the nineteenth century a paradigmatic shift took place in the meaning of degeneration. Medicalization, with incorporation into the rhetoric of the new hygiene and social medicine that was primarily directed at the poor of the newly expanding cities. Just as public hygiene primarily concerned itself with the medicine of the urban masses, so the newly evolved form of degeneration theory focused upon communities, cities and nations.
A bourgeois perspective toward the ill, the poor and the Other, the latter being individuals manifesting differences that threaten social control and order Sander Gilman, Difference Degenerationists had always been from the literate professions and, with the emergence of a middle-class in the early nineteenth-century, that tradition continued involving a disproportionately large number of physicians and those such as Taine and Zola see later , who were profoundly influenced by contemporary medical thought. A totalizing vision of degeneration that was seen to account for many physical and psychiatric medical conditions, as well as moral problems affecting society at large.
As such, it aspired to assume a social control formerly exercised by the Church. There was associated emphasis on hereditary determinism and the transmission of ill-effects suffered by parents, as a result of noxious physical and moral influences, to future generations. The promise that many of the manifestations of degeneration could be minimized, or even reversed, by improved mental and physical hygiene under the supervision of a new generation of medical professionals, the hygienists public health physicians.
This paradigmatic shift, which fused degenerationist ideas with those of the new sanitary movement in France, resulted in a conceptual framework that could be applied to the whole of society. So powerful, so attractive and so polyvalent was its explanatory power that it appeared in the writings of leading philosophers, sociologists, biologists and physicians for the rest of the nineteenth century.
Ernst Kraus, in his biography of Erasmus Darwin, made the same point Kraus , as did Drachman Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
It probably refers to the well-known Sir William Charles Ellis , physician and superintendant of the Hanwell Asylum in Middlesex. He died of thyphoid in Boston. Some of the perceived shortcomings of the monomania nosology were later summarized in an essay published in ironically winning the Prix Esquirol by a disciple of Morel, Gabriel Doutrebente, Doutrebente The nosology was, however, still current in Spain in the s and is referred to repeatedly in a paper by Rafael Salillas in In a later letter in the correspondence stimulated by this article, one K.
Corbet MD was able to affirm,. In reference to degeneration of race, three facts are known: 1st, It is favoured by consanguinity [ These three states predispose to the production of unhealthy semen; and this I conceive to be the cause and origin of all the evil. Though with less specific detail of a likely mechanism, the theory of hereditary urban degeneration was increasingly espoused by middle-class experts for the rest of the nineteenth century Stedman Jones After work as a surgeon in London, Cantlie worked in Hong Kong where he successfully battled an outbreak of plague.
This view is strikingly similar to that held, with some justification, by contemporary public health authorities in Madrid. Degenerative processes that threatened the entire nation were thus seen to be associated with the growth of great cities, where an increasing proportion of the population lived and where the emerging middle-class was primarily to be found. Fearsome threats to national well-being of this kind had to be met by the delivery of preventative medicine not merely to the individual but to the community at large, if they were to stand any chance of success.
Such was the rationale behind the development of hygiene and sanitary medicine. While the first chair of hygiene was founded in , major developments between and were due to contributions of the generation of.
John P. Williams-Freeman : English physician, country doctor and author of Introduction to Field Archeology. While the study of the work place, shipping and housing were important to the hygienists and they considered the filth in which the lower classes lived to be the source of many of their ills, an influential and countervailing view held that vice in the poor was ingrained and that,.
Elizabeth Williams The idea of degeneration considered as the consequence of urban life in France was expressed by Bertulus in Bertulus was appalled by the crowding and unhealthy conditions in the major cities of France where bad housing, lack of ventilation, and decomposing animals in the streets produced odors which made the contemporary miasmatic theory of disease seem highly plausible. Bertulus also notes the degenerative consequences of urban inbreeding,. He also observes the lethal association of poverty with alcoholism and, influenced by the racial notions of his day, writes of its capacity for affecting not only individuals but the entire human race, miasmatic theory of disease: This notion, which goes back to classical times, held that disease was spread by foul-smelling air and was one of the precursors of the germ theory of disease; the word malaria derives from it.
Even after the discovery of the organism responsible for cholera by Koch in , leading figures in public health such as Edwin Chadwick, Florence Nightingale and Max von Pettenkofer continued to subscribe to a miasmatic explanation for many years. In this description of degeneration related to the social ills of poverty, alcoholism and the consequences to society as a whole, Bertulus anticipates much of the degenerationist thinking of the rest of the nineteenth century.
It appears that the concept of degeneration was widely applied to human problems in the s and s. Almost all the features of later degeneration theory are here to account for severe mental retardation: hereditary influence, deterioration across generations, relation to poverty, association with cranial anomalies, association of physical with moral debility and the larger threat of degeneration to the nation and to the species.
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The breadth and intimidating power of the concept of degeneration from the pen of yet another physician are plain. Another physician closely associated with the theory of degeneration in the s and s was Philippe Buchez. He later founded the Catholic-socialist party with a vision of improving the well-being of the poor by helping to relieve what he saw as their regression and hereditary degeneration, ultimately attributable to Original Sin.
Buchez, Introduction A profoundly moralistic tone is present in his account of the transgenerational consequences of parental immorality,. In , he wrote on cholera and its relation to climate. The purview of his work includes the application of contemporary ideas about heredity and morality not only of mixing of human races but also to a wide variety of conditions such as cretinism, malaria, scrofula and rickets.
He studied medicine in Paris between and and befriended Claude Bernard, a fellow medical student with whom he shared Nosology: A classification or arrangement of diseases OED Cretinism, Cretins: Med. Historically, the condition was observed throughout the world in regions remote from the sea, which is the main source of iodine. It still exists in the under-developed world today. A midnineteenth century account of cretinism incorporating degenerationist thought was published by Linus Brockett in The Atlantic Monthly Las Hurdes continued to be associated with the cretinism-degeneration debate, for in the physician, J.
He was the first to define the term milieu Morel consequently had ample opportunity to observe the ill-effects of unhealthy living and working conditions Dowbiggin, Inheriting , that he would incorporate into his theory of inherited, degenerative mental disease. In Morel, using his original observations of endemic cretinism , as a basis, formulated a degenerationist model for inherited, environment-related disease Friedlander 19 that included a wide range of mental. He was also one of the first to suggest the use of double blind experiments to ensure the objectivity of scientific observations.
It would appear that Alpine cretins were something of a magnet for medical investigators. Noel A.
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He pioneered the humaine treatment of the insane and the abolition of physical restraint of patients. He devised an early classification of mental disease and the so-called moral treatment which emphasized functional and behavioral methods rather than the physical treatment that had formerly prevailed.
Articles of Lunier in have a similar theme. Such literalism is attributable in part, no doubt, to his training as a seminarian and to his subsequent, close professional links with the clergy Goldstein, Console Morel argues further that acquired flaws of the nervous system give rise to a predisposition or diathesis toward a variety of psychiatric, neurological and other Diathesis: Med. Professor of legal medicine, he published studies of cretinism, goitre, scurvy and pulmonry tuberculosis.
This essay lists deformed ears, chorea writhing movements , squint, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, flattening of the cranium, receding forehead, undersized genitalia, compulsion to suicide, murder and other fixed ideas, and erratic behavior since childhood in mentally ill patients Doutrebente and appears to anticipate the criminal anthropology studies of Cesare Lombroso that would appear in the following decade. It should be noted that many of the signs attibuted to hereditary degenerative madness by Doutrebente are behavioral rather than physical.
Such lists imply the need to observe a patient over time and that degeneration was not necessarily something that could be recognized from physical stigmata seen at a brief physical inspection. Louis-Jean-Charles-Marie Tanquerel des Planches : French physician and agronomist known for his studies of occupational lead poisoning. One of the motives for that desire for control, reinforced by the recent events of , appears to be fear of a repeat revolt by the classes dangereuses, the dangerous elements in society. The stability of the ensuing Second Republic was undermined by the activity of the revolutionary Paris citizenry, largely of the working class, leading to the June Days Uprising that provoked a conservative backlash in favor of We may conclude that while Morel did not originate the theory of degeneration, he extended its range with the extraordinary breadth and documentation of his studies and that these features were important in persuading his contemporaries not only of its explanatory power but also its medico-political advantages.
The short-lived French revolutionary republic, despite differences of many details, shows striking parallels with the First Republic of Spain, some 20 years later. Both were born as a result of liberal revolution, both were too chaotic to maintain order, and both betrayed many of their promises when desire for order and stability led to reversion to more authoritarian rule. Darwin did not orginate the idea of evolution but documented it with a groundbreaking thoroughness such that it could no longer be ignored especially in conjunction with his original theory of natural selection.
Morel was far from the first to employ the metanarrative of degeneration, but he documented the theory so comprehensively and argued for it so effectively that his influence was felt for the rest of the nineteenth century, such that present day writers still credit him with the origination of the theory. There, of course, the parallel ends. Few better examples of the exercise of Foucauldian knowledge-power can be imagined.
Under the intellectuel one might subsume the latest developments in degeneration theory involving hereditary degeneration not only in individual patients but in society at large. Under physique, one could arguably include all the environmental hazards that had recently been identified in the fields of food. The moral element is a very powerful one in the view of this devout former candidate for the priesthood. He was, as Foucault observes, ambitious to impose his vision upon society with asylums and prisons, by faith and by fear.
Some idea of the influence of degeneration theory can be derived from the number of influential. From onwards, he promoted alcoholism as a chief paradigm of social and hereditary degeneration in contrast with cretinism that had been the starting point for Morel Dowbiggin, Magnan ; Huertas Garcia-Alejo, Magnan Huertas, Madness I He was particularly interested in alcoholism and defined a subset of the condition associated with absinthe.
A particularly useful study of Magnan is that of Dowbiggin Paul Jacoby ?? I have been able to find no trace of a Spanish translation. After the manner of Morel, he includes in the compass of degeneration a wide variety of moral failings and physical diseases including crime, suicide, sexual license, epilepsy, general paralysis of the insane, mental retardation, scrofula and rickets Jacoby The first was Prosper Lucas who graduated as a physician in Paris in In his exhaustive study, Lucas analyses patterns of inheritance in plants and animals, as well as those of mental and other diseases in man.
Corbet, M. He influenced not only Morel but also Zola. Being well before the age of Mendelian genetics, they had only the external appearances or phenotype to study with consequent unawareness of the mechanism of the underlying genetic constitution or genotype that could be transmitted across the generations without being openly manifest. OED Phenotype. OED Genotype. OED As a contribution to the understanding of the inheritance of mental disease as a physical problem, it was acknowledged not only by Morel and Moreau but also by Darwin and other major European writers.
This proved to be an even more daunting task than documenting the normal, given that many individuals suffered from several diseases at the same time and that the nosological identity of many of them was obscure. A family, whose members were diagnosed with hysteria, epilepsy, madness and idiocy, was apt to be interpreted as one suffering from differing manifestations of the same underlying cause.
Lucas expressed this in terms of, Telegony: Biol. Schopenhauer and Herbert Spencer also subscribed to the theory, which appears in the works of Ibsen, Strindberg as well as Zola Bondeson , As a result, he saw much of the Middle East where he experienced the affects of hashish, which he felt gave him insight into the experiences of mentally sick patients. He was interested in Haschish and the relation between mental states induced by it and madness and was thus a pioneer in the field of psychotropic drugs. Baudelaire and Gautier published essays describing their experiences with a variety of drugs at the Club.
Holmstedt ix-x Zola was born in Paris in , the son of an Italian engineer and a French mother, but grew up in Aix-en-Provence where he developed a strong friendship with a fellow schoolmate, Paul Cezanne. He found his office job intolerable, however, and when he left it was forced to live in the lowest type of boarding house where he experienced real hardship, which was unrelieved by a bleak affair with a prostitute that cured him of much of his earlier romanticism Grant In spite of this he continued to write with the result that, with the recommendation of a family friend, he found work between and with the publisher Hachette.
The proprietor soon recognized his writing ability and entrepreneurial flair and put him in charge of his publicity department. In his profound respect for science, Zola was also influenced by the positivist thought of Comte Alberti It was also at this time that he conceived the. The translation is that of Frederick Brown. No need to indicate here all the works on physiology I consulted, [ Brown This All the forms of heredity [ Hochmann without giving page references.
Darwin here also expounds the received wisdom of his time, shared by French and Spanish physicians as well as English, that tuberculosis was an inherited condition. For a suposed relation between parental tuberculosis and childhood mental deficiency, see the preceeding note on Langdon Down. In the presence of commonly ill-defined nosological boundaries and at a time in which many diseases of obscure etiology might coexist in the same patient, links were commonly drawn between diseases that we now know to have unrelated causes, apart from the debilitating predisposing factors of malnutrition and poverty.
Rickets and scrofula are examples. Representatives of the government The principles of the Naturalism that Zola preached, which were not necessarily those that he practised as a novelist himself Furst and Skrine 46 , included the following features:. An examination of sordid aspects of working class life and language that had previously been excluded from literature.
Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, c. 1901
Unlike the previous movement of Romanticism, which was typically centered on the high emotions of exceptional individuals, the principal characters of Naturalism are everyday folk who represent Everyman in their instincts and in their struggles. A sense of hereditary determinism in which the characters are controlled by their race, milieu and moment of Taine, such that they have little control over.
This is associated with moral and physical degeneration that may be the immediate effect of a bad physical, emotional and moral environment, the result of ills and predispositions inherited from forebears, or an atavistic regression to a supposedly more primitive, animal state.
Familial alcoholism is a common example and various forms of madness appear frequently. Strong localization. Unlike the Romantic hero whose generalized surroundings often serve to amplify his emotions, the character of the Naturalistic novel lives in a very specific and recognizable time and location. Absence of any metaphysical or spiritual quality in the characters who are brutes humaines, determined entirely by their heredity and their environment. The Naturalist novel frequently has the quality of a sociological document Hazel Gold, canon in which the often hidden abuses of society are exposed.
The introductory La Fortune des Rougon recounts the genealogy of the family that plays an opportunistic and self-serving role in Plassans in when it supports the assumption of power by the new Bonaparte. Her life spans the entire series since she will die with advanced dementia in an asylum at the very end. The following generation is more numerous, but hereditary determinism dogs both families, most spectacularly the Macquart where Antoine proves to be an alcoholic like his father, has an alcoholic daughter, Gervaise.
She, in turn, bears a nymphomaniac daughter, Nana, a son, Jacques Lantier , who is a homicidal criminal and a second son, Claude Lantier , who is a disturbed genius of a painter. Jacques Lantier : Jacques is, in fact, the alter ego of another son Etienne Lantier , who reads Darwin and becomes a strike leader in Germinal , and who is a more admirable character. Zola has the Etienne-character disappear with Germinal to be replaced by Jacques who resembles him and appears in the following novels.
The legitimate Rougons, meanwhile, ascend to power and fortune by means that are marginally less pathological. Pierre cheats his mother and half brother and sister out of their inheritance in order to buy his way into a respectable bourgeois family. He, in turn, has a vicious, effeminate son, Maxime, who has an affair with his step-mother. Rather than being scandalized by this, Aristide turns this to his own account by blackmailing his second wife to keep the affair secret.
Both Pascal and Clotilde appear to have escaped the evil hereditary traits of the Rougon clan and pusue an idyllic, rural passion in a house near Plassans, where Pascal studies the archives of his family and develops a theory of heredity, which is identical to that of idyllic, rural passion: the affair between the year old Pascal and his year old neice is transparently a portrait of the relationship of Zola, himself, with his young mistress, the semstress, Jeanne Rozerot to whom he privately dedicated the volume Brown The gross disproportion in the ages of the couple and the incest of their uncle-neice marriage are elided by Zola.
While Prosper Lucas writes in his treatise about the inheritance of characteristics both favorable and unfavorable, Zola shows a striking prediliction for the latter, mostly involving disorders that are socially disagreeable. While acknowledging the pessimism and horror of many volumes of the series, however, Grant takes pains to emphasize a counterbalancing optimism in the prospect of life triumphant and of hope Grant Taine With such a Darwinian background, Weinstein observes that in his portrayal of the brute struggle of violence and passion, Zola owes much to the literary and intellectual influence of Balzac and Taine,.
He is especially remembered for his vision of determinism in human affairs under the influence of the triad of race, moment and milieu. Taine wrote to Zola expressing an interest in his early works and offered advice that may have influenced Zola to present a wider social background and more balanced anti- thetical characters in his Rougon-Macquart series Weinstein While heredity and degeneration form the central theme of the novels of Les Rougon-Macquart Huertas, Darwinismo , there are recurring Darwinian echoes such as when Claude Lantier in Le Ventre de Paris describes the battle for survival of two hostile elements of contemporary society, the Fat and the Thin, as the former thrive at the expense of the latter.
An idea of the Naturalist synthesis behind the novels is probably better. Zola, Preface ii. As the Naturalist movement in literature spread to other countries, so too would spread the associated identification with the physician. One might speculate that this was not only to dignify the study of the pathological and the horrific in man by adopting the clinical objectivity of a respected profession, but also to attempt to defend the writer from the charge of being merely a muck-raking voyeur.
Of all the professions that come face to face with disease and the pathological in man, the most detached and least judgemental is likely to be that of the physician. A scientific experiment conducted under the same conditions will tend to lead to the same results anywhere.
Zola goes as far as to quote this passage of Bernard but, undermining his thesis as it does, Zola chooses to disagree with it. In the words of Mitterand,. Mitterand, Zola Degeneration theory evolved from being an intellectual tool of social observers and natural philosphers in the eighteenth century and in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, to an all-encompassing theory of social and mental disease from onwards.
In France the opportunites available for professional biologists were few in Spain they barely existed , while a glut of physicians arrived from the ranks of the military at the end of the Napoleonic era looking for work Cartron The route to biology was through medicine. Many, especially those involved with the natural sciences, found Much degenerationist thinking of the time can be seen as a reaction on the part of physicians to the disturbing increases in insanity and many social diseases, all related to national political instability.
The genealogical tree of the Rougon-Macquart illustrates many examples of trans-generational degeneration, not only among the illegitimate Macquart, but also in the descendants of the Rougon. The novelist committed to representing the more horrific aspects of the human condition, if he were not to be mere pathological voyeur, had to acquire the discourse and discipline of a profession accustomed to dealing with such things at first hand. Thus the psychology of the revolutionaries was [ These themes will recur in the following chapter on the growth of degenerationist ideas in Spain, transmitted through links with French medicine and the works of Zola.
The latter decades of the nineteenth century exhibited the most curious amalgam of art and science, literature and medicine Rafael Huertas. There appear to have been two main routes of transmission of degenerationist thinking into Spain. The first of these was medical, mainly in the context of hygiene, public health and psychiatry, not only through the many French texts translated into Spanish, but also by means of Spanish physicians such as Monlau, Mata and Simarro who studied, sometimes as exiles, in France.
This transmission was a gradual process that took place over 40 years, with the result that, at least in professional circles, the middle-class was primed for the arrival of the theme in literature. A second route of transmission was the Naturalist literary movement that burst upon Spain in the later s as a result of the arrival of the novels of Zola. Together with their graphic representation of low-life passions and vices, these presented a deterministic and pessimistic view of the human condition with its portrayal of inherited and environmentally-induced degeneration leading progressively across the generations to sterility and extinction.
The chapter will continue with a discussion of the fields in which the theory was applied by forensic physicians and hygienists to critique individuals and groups within Spanish society who transgressed its bourgeois norms. I shall then show how this bourgeois discourse was turned back upon the middle-class by members of the anarchist movement who were determined to challenge the view that degeneration was limited to the masa obrera.
This could be considered as a forerunner of degeneration theory in Spain. It is highly likely that members of the professions would have been able to read the French originals of works by Morel, Moreau de Tours, Prosper Lucas and Paul Jacoby especially as many of them, like Pedro Felipe Monlau Mercedes Granjel and Pedro Mata Guerra , either undertook some of their medical training in France or were exiled there as a result of political repression in Spain. French originals: A generation earlier most physicians appeared to be able to read French.
By the time of its publication in France, he had been elected a corresponding member of the Academy. His legislative role in the Trienio liberal is recorded by Cardona The analysis of the content of the texts is insufficient, however, to indicate how many of them employed degenerationist thinking. The fate of the impoverished is one of physical and moral degeneration,. Monlau, Remedios In other words, degeneration theory preceded Morel, not only in France but also in Spain. This suggests that he might, at very. In his essay, he mentions moral treatment, and suicidal and homicidal monomania, but not degeneration.
A review of texts published in Spain from to reveals a series of works, mostly in French, that include the concept of degeneration. He was a colleague of Morel. It would appear that, by this time, a degenerationist explanation was unexceptional. He is famous in medicine for his discovery of the speech center of the brain in the ventroposterior region of the frontal lobes, now known as Broca's area. Paris: Asselin, Returning to the main burden of his talk, however, he ends by repeating his warning of the ill-effects of physical inactivity,.
In , a fully-developed statement of degeneration theory appeared in the oration with which Dr. Laorden Billiet was convinced that something about the soil was responsible and suggested that dietary iodine be given Friedlander Morel rejected this simplistic explanation, however, with a long letter propounding degeneration as a cause due to a combination of geological, racial and hygienic factors Friedlander The causual relationshop between cretinism and iodine deficiency was finally proved beyond all doubt as a result of large-scale trials by Marine and Kimbell in Akron, Ohio in Hetzel Maiz became an important survival foodstuff for the poor in Southern Europe in the XVIII century but because Europeans did not cook it with lye as did the natives of the Americas, important amino acids were not released with the result that Europeans developed vitamin B3 niacin deficiency or pellagra.
Related ¿Revolución en los claustros?: La reforma universitaria de 1918 (Spanish Edition)
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