Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/711

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SKETCH OF JEAN MARTIN CHARCOT.

various signs and wonders of religious history and tradition. Regarding them all as remarkable hypnotics, the mystics of the past were favorite subjects of contemplation with him. He accumulated the works of the mystical painters, Andrea del Sarto, Deudato Delmont, Matteo Roselli, and Van Breughel, and read the works of the great mystical writers—Thomas à Kempis, Fénelon, Pascal, and St. Francis of Sales. Hysteria had before this time been regarded as peculiarly the disease of women. He found it attendant upon many forms of disorder from which men suffer, detected it in some of their petty weaknesses and vanities, and regarded it as lying at the bottom of the literary peculiarities of some of the most popular French authors.

He was an intense materialist, and in this he and his school were directly opposed to the other school of alienists in France, that of Nancy and the Charité Hospital, who supposed a psychical force behind the phenomena which came under their observation. With this he had a touch of intolerance toward his opponents. At his demonstrations, according to Mrs. Crawford, he "seemed to command every nerve of his patients. There were but two seats in the room where he taught—one for himself and the other for the patient. The students, disciples and laics—which last came in crowds—stood, some taking notes, and others listening with profound attention. He flattered himself that he forced by the mere power of his will the idlers to be attentive. There was nothing he more resented than for persons of rank, whom he thought not competent to understand him, to compliment him. . . . He began to lose his power 'to fascinate' his pupils some time before his death, and noticed it with sorrow. Though he despised the eulogiums of the incompetent, or wanted no conventional praise, he enjoyed feeling that he was celebrated.

Charcot's literary work was considerable. He published a large number of memoirs, articles, and studies on chronic and, nervous diseases, rheumatism, and softening of the brain; and his writings are known, appreciated, and sought for in all countries. His lectures have been translated into several languages. The Lancet, in its estimate of his publications, says: "It is rather more than twenty years since the first part appeared of Leçons sur les Maladies du Système Nerveux. Modest and unpretending, with a gray paper cover and no great thickness of letterpress, the publication was somewhat long in attracting general attention among the profession in this country (England); but to those who had the good fortune to open the brochure, what a wealth of interest was laid bare! Custom has made us so familiar with M. Charcot's style that it is difficult to describe the charm of a first introduction to his writings. Putting aside for an instant the scientific value of the material, there was something in the writ-