The Hendrick’s Lecture Series

Music Driving Women Mad: The History of Medical Fears of its Effects on Female Bodies and Minds
Illustrated lecture with Dr. James Kennaway

4th June 2013
Doors at 6:30 / Talk begins at 7:00 pm
Ticket price £7

For many doctors since the eighteenth century, women’s supposedly weak nerves made them especially vulnerable to over-stimulation, which could lead to a variety of complaints from the vapours to neurasthenia. One surprisingly common focus of these concerns was music. Over the past few centuries, countless physicians and writers have asserted that music could cause very serious medical problems for the ‘weaker sex’. Not only could it bring on symptoms of nervousness and hysteria, it could also cause infertility, nymphomania and even something called ‘melosexualism’. This talk will give an outline of this strange debate, using the raciest stories to be found in gynaecological textbooks.

Dr James Kennaway
Dr James Kennaway is a lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He has previously held posts at Stanford University, the University of Vienna and the University of Durham. His book “Bad Vibrations: The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease” was published last summer.

The Last Tuesday Society is honoured to house this exhibition and lecture series cultivated in collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein of the rightfully venerated ‘Morbid Anatomy’ Library, Museum & Blog.

Talks take place at The Last Tuesday Society at 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP – please click here to buy tickets