American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History takes one of the most infamous procedures in the history of medicine as its subject. Through a close study of representations of lobotomy in a wide variety of cultural texts, American Lobotomy offers a rhetorical history of the infamous procedure and illustrates its continued effect on American medicine. The development of lobotomy in 1935 was heralded as a "miracle cure" by newspapers and magazines, which hoped openly that the "soul surgery" would empty the nation's perennially blighted asylums. However, the miracle cure soon began to fall from favor with the American public, as the operation became characterized as a barbaric practice with suspiciously authoritarian overtones. Only twenty years after the first operation, lobotomists initially praised for their "therapeutic courage" were condemned for their barbarity, an image that has only soured in subsequent decades.
Taking on previously abandoned texts like science fiction, horror film, political polemics, and conspiracy theory, Johnson employs these discarded texts to write a rhetorical history of the operation, showing how lobotomy's entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a powerful image of the operation that persists to this day. In a provocative challenge to the history of medicine, American Lobotomy argues that lobotomy's rhetorical history is crucial to understanding lobotomy's medical history, offering a case study of how medicine accumulates meaning as it circulates in public culture, and it stands as an argument for the need to understand biomedicine as a culturally situated prac
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|Size: ||2.4 MB|
|Publisher: ||University of Michigan Press|
|Date published: || 2015|
|ISBN: ||2370006541868 (DRM-EPUB)|
|Read Aloud: ||not allowed|