[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]
hysterical fugue: an affliction not known to have struck any Baroque composer, but first diagnosed in the late nineteenth century.
"Ambulatory automatism, by whatever name--dromomanie, poriomenie, Wandertrieb, determinismo ambulatorio, psychogenic fugue, or, in the parlance of the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, dissociative fugue--is exemplary for, even a caricature of, late century madness. It is also a distorting mirror of one of the middle class obsessions of the modern world, the world of Thomas Cook and Son, the world of the comfortable traveller. For les alienés voyageurs--to use the title of the first medical thesis about these men--were compulsive travellers, solid artisans or honest men of the laboring classes, who on hearing the name of a distant place would set out, on foot, or by fourth class carriage, not knowing why they went. So far as casual passers-by could tell, they behaved, en route, quite sensibly, yet they knew not what they were doing, or, in some cases, who they were."
Posted by Daniel on 07.13.2008
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