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By Jenell Johnson

American Lobotomy reports a large choice of representations of lobotomy to provide a rhetorical heritage of 1 of the main notorious approaches within the heritage of drugs. the improvement of lobotomy in 1935 used to be heralded as a “miracle therapy” that may empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. besides the fact that, in simple terms two decades later, lobotomists firstly praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has simply soured in next many years. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technological know-how fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy conception to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a robust snapshot of the operation that persists to today. The e-book provocatively demanding situations the historical past of drugs, arguing that rhetorical heritage is important to figuring out scientific background. It bargains a case learn of the way drugs accumulates which means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally located perform.

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Her husband later wrote Walter Freeman to thank him, describing those five years as the “happiest of her life” (Freeman and Watts 1950, xix). Lobotomy’s primary objective was to “blunt” strong emotions in order to return mentally ill people to “productive” roles in their families, communities, and the economy. This chapter investigates the medical meanings of lobotomy in the early years of its use in the United States and shows how the argument of emotional impairment that served as lobotomy’s scientific justification was mirrored in constraints on medical discourse.

Yet he would say only that Lou, who had never liked Howard, had insisted it be done. “I got manipulated,” Rodney explained, “pure and simple” (237). Rodney’s refusal to take responsibility for his son’s lobotomy extended to his reluctance to emotionally engage with his decision to authorize the surgery. Thinking with the Thalamus 39 During the interview, he chides Howard for “dwell[ing] on negative ideas,” explaining that he tried to remain positive about the past (Dully and Fleming 2007, 237).

The Trans-­Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a site of marvelous history where past and present, malevolence and benevolence, and fact and fiction comingle in a deeply affective environment. In this chapter, I explore lobotomy’s role in the hospital’s history and the performance of that history on medical and paranormal tours in order to understand the cultural function of lobotomy’s meaning as a monstrous practice. In closing, with a nod to Donna Haraway (1988), who champions the value of “partial perspective,” I want to acknowledge the limits of this book’s vision.

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