a tumult of visions

[Sigmund Freud's mentor] Jean-Martin Charcot was known for his sober and dispassionate nature, but his close associates also commented on his particular penchant for the bizarre, the supernatural, and grotesque. Meige recounted an anecdote from Charcot’s student days that highlights this latter characteristic and foreshadows Charcot’s interest in contorted deformities and exotic behaviors. Predating Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal by seven years, Charcot experimented in 1853 with smoking hashish: As soon as he was under the influence of the narcotic, a tumult of phantasmagoric visions flashed across his mind. The entire page was covered with drawings: prodigious dragons, grimacing monsters, incoherent personages who were superimposed on each other and who were intertwined and twisted in a fabulous whirlpool bringing to mind the apocalyptic conceptions of Van Bosh and Jacques Callot.

- "Charcot - Constructing Neurology" / Christopher Goetz, Michel Bonduelle, Toby Gelfand

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