Article ID: CBB737134786

The Autobiography of a Neurasthene (1910): The Medical Counternarratives of Margaret Abigail Cleaves, MD (2022)


This article argues that Margaret Abigail Cleaves's The Autobiography of a Neurasthene was part of a body of nineteenth-century writing that attempted to reclaim and recover the voices of American women by chronicling their struggles with illnesses and cures and documenting their interactions with the medical profession. Cleaves's gynocentric counternarrative was a searing criticism of the prevalent medical model of her era that questioned its treatment of neurasthenic women and offered therapeutic alternatives such as electric, light and music therapy. By doing so, it positioned Cleaves as a significant force of change in understandings of women and their bodies.

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Authors & Contributors
Walls, Laura D.
Jarrells, Anthony
Kross, Jessica
Nolte, Karen
Swedlund, Alan C.
Warsh, Cheryl Lynn Krasnick
History of Psychiatry
Social History of Medicine
Journal of Medical Biography
Medical History
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
University of Massachusetts Press
University of Toronto Press
Rutgers University Press
Claremont Graduate University
McMaster University (Canada)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Medicine and gender
Women's diseases
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Mental disorders and diseases
Smellie, William
John Peter Mettauer
Nathan Bozeman
Sims, James Marion
Darwin, Charles Robert
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
17th century
21st century
United States
Great Britain
New England (U.S.)

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