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By Kirsten C. Uszkalo (auth.)

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Additional info for Bewitched and Bedeviled: A Cognitive Approach to Embodiment in Early English Possession

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Although melancholia and hysteria were natural disorders (with a well-known and well-articulated symptomatology), the Devil could tempt faith and affect a person’s temperament. This allows for a simultaneity of natural and preternatural disease; it also allowed for the confusion we see in the interpretation of histrionics. Hysteria, menstrual retention (retentio menstruis), s and ovaretention (retentio seminae), manifest symptoms similar to those of bewitchment; consequently, as diagnoses they prove flexible.

The demoniac finds a way out of her own emotional maze. This chapter deploys theories of emotional generalization, affective incoherence and coherence, and behavioral modification to illustrate how, apart from an attribution to a psychiatric or physiological illness, the performance and experience of possession behaviors were contingent on the narrative loop in which they were constructed. It considers how possession experiences began with a cultural understanding of what possession was understood to be.

106 All this rubbing was not unique to Foresti, nor would it end anytime soon. D. 107 Genital rubbing was designed, one assumes, to release the lodged female seed, which was meant to be released during the orgasm that ensured conception. ”108 A woman could tell she had conceived, by feeling a “shivering or trembling to run through every part of her body [ . . ”109 However, seeds that are not fertilized could be released by rubbing, which was an observation made by Isbrand de Diemerbroeck (1694) when he discussed a treatment for hysteria caused by lodged ova.

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