Charcot, Jean Martin (1825–1893)
French physician who studied hypnotism in relation to hysteria.
Born November 29, 1825, in Paris, Charcot became a
doctor of medicine and was later appointed physician at the
Central Hospital Bureau, Paris. In 1860 he became a professor
of pathological anatomy in the medical faculty, and two years
later he became closely associated with the development of the
Saltpêtrière, the great neurological clinic of Paris.
Charcot was responsible for notable researches in the fields
of muscular disease and mental disturbance. His work, together
with that of his student Pierre Janet, the director of the psychological
laboratory of the Saltpêtrière from 1889 to 1898,
marked the beginning of serious medical and scientific study
of the phenomena of hypnotism (in contrast to the earlier
studies of mesmerism, which had occult connotations). Their
research forced the French Academy of Sciences to accept hypnosis
as a new therapeutic instrument.
Among Charcot’s most famous students was Sigmund
Freud. Charcot died August 16, 1893.
Sources
Charcot, Jean Martin. Les demoniaques dans l’art. Paris, 1887.
Reprint, Amsterdam B. M. Israel, 1972.
———. Lectures on the Diseases of the Nervous System. London,
1881. Reprint, New York Hafner, 1962.
Didi-Huberman, Georges, and J. M. Charcot. Invention de
l’hysterie Charcot et l’iconographia photographiqe de la Salpetriere.
Paris Macula, 1982.