In the middle of the flanks of women lies the womb, a female viscus, closely resembling an animal; for it is moved of itself hither and thither in the flanks, also upwards in a direct line to below the cartilage of the thorax and also obliquely to the right or to the left, either to the liver or spleen; and it likewise is subject to prolapsus downwards, and, in a word, it is altogether erratic. It delights, also, in fragrant smells, and advances towards them; and it has an aversion to fetid smells, and flees from them; and on the whole the womb is like an animal within an animal.
Interpellation functions as the identification of the subject with the Law as symbolic order, the superego function which maintains the illusion of social cohesion...
Hysteria, as classically defined, is a chronic polysymptomatic illness chiefly affecting women... Possibly as a result of its opponents and increasing sophistication of society, the use of hysteria as a diagnostic label has declined in western countries.
In the hysterical discourse Lacan isolates one of the partners as the divided subject , the other as the master signifier, or the master who embodies it... The agent is what we call a place of power.
As we approach our own millennium, the epidemics of hysterical disorders, imaginary illnesses, and hypnotically induced pseudomemories that have flooded the media seem to be reaching a high-water mark.
A neurotic disorder characterized by a wide variety of somatic and mental symptoms resulting from dissociation, typically beginning during adolescence or early adulthood and occurring more commonly in women than men.
The term hysteria originated with Hippocrates. He thought that the cause of hysteria was irregular movement of blood from the internal genitalia to the brain. Plato believed that the uterus was an independent being which longed for children. If the uterus was never fertilized, then it would wander restlessly about in the body and cause shortage of breath and other symptoms.
"To be ill is a feminine verb," quipped Dr. S. Weir Mitchell in 1881, lightly putting his quite serious judgment that womanhood itself is a pathological condition.
Since the male body, to the ancients, was the norm of human nature, and since it clearly had no place for a uterus, it may have been thought that the female body had no real place for a uterus either -- hence the itinerant nature of the organ.
...in more recent centuries the work of Hippocrates and Galen have been grossly exploited by medical experts. Not the least to justify the diagnosis of hysteria, which was to become the most common psychiatric label applied to women up until the 19th Century - and ghastly procedures like the clitoridectomy to treat it.