Clarification of Answer by
25 Jun 2002 07:33 PDT
Oh my! My apologies for tracking down the wrong scientist! I will do
my best to reanswer your question, thanks for bringing this to my
The Seventeenth century saw a complete upheaval in the way the body
was viewed. Many scientists and thinkers contributed to this change
but foremost were William Harvey (1578-1657) with his demonstration
of the circulation of the blood.
Sir William Harvey was born in Folkestone, England and went on to
study at Cambridge University following which he spent several years
at Padua, where he came under the influence of Fabricius. He
established a successful medical practice in London and by precise
observation and scrupulous reasoning developed his theory of
circulation. In 1628, he published his classic book Exercitatio
Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (Concerning the
Motion of the Heart and Blood), often referred to as De Motu Cordis.
His second great book, Exercitationes de generatione animalium
("Experiments Concerning Animal Generation"), published in 1651, laid
the foundation of modern embryology.
William Harvey is quoted by The Library of Iberian Resources Online
(http://libro.uca.edu/perry/csms8.htm) as writing in his essay
'Exercitationes de generatione animalium':
"It is of the same significance in these animals when they conceive
eggs, as it is in young women when their uterus grows hot, their
menses flow, and their bosoms swell - in a word, when they become
marriageable; and who, if they continue too long unwedded, are seized
with serious symptoms - hysterics, furor uterinus, etc., or fall into
a cachetic state, and distemperatures of various kinds. All animals
indeed, grow savage when in heat, and unless they are suffered to
enjoy one another, become changed in disposition. In like manner women
occasionally become insane through ungratified desire, and to such a
height does the malady reach in some, that they are believed to be
poisoned, or moonstruck, or possessed by a devil."
In another essay concerning William Harvey, the author claims "In
medieval Christian thought, the Holy Spirit was believed to reside in
the heart of each person and was responsible for controlling emotional
behavior. But this theological certainty began to break down in 1628
when William Harvey published his famous book "On the Motion of the
Heart and Blood in Animals," proving that the function of the heart
was to circulate blood through the body. For many people, this meant
the Holy Spirit was displaced (or at least reduced to a metaphor) as
they came to think of the human body as a machine that was subject to
self-regulation." The author goes on to state these thoughts led to
the belief that if physical passions went unmet, madness was likely to
occur. (Full text of this essay can be found at
William Harvey once wrote to a colleague that nowhere does nature more
openly "display her secret mysteries than in cases where she shows
traces of her workings apart from the beaten path; nor is there any
better way to advance the proper practice of medicine than to give our
minds to the discovery of the usual law of Nature by careful
investigation of cases of rare forms of disease." For full text of
this article, visit http://www.redherring.com/insider/2001/0122/tech-mag-90-orphan012201.html
You can purchase editions of William Harvey's books from Great Books
and Classics by following this link-
I also have found a biographical book related to William Harvey
offered for $30.00:
Author: Chauvois, Louis.
William Harvey: His Life and Times: His Discoveries: His Methods.
Foreword by Sir Zachary Cope. New York: Philosophical Library, .
8vo. 1st American Edition, printed in UK. [First published the same
year in French]. 271+pp. + 18 plates. 14 text figures. Green cloth
with painted spine label and gilt front cover device. Foot of spine
crushed, else very good in tattered pictorial dust jacket. (OP).
You can order this book by following this link-
or go directly to the website offering it-
Another book with comments about William Harvey: 'The languages of
William Harvey's natural philosophy' by Roger K. French.
There was an article written about William Harvey in the July 2000
issue of Scientific American. You can search for this article at the
Scientific American archive, however, you must purchase that issue
online before they will allow you to read the article.
(https://www.sciamarchive.com) Good news is, google.com has a cached
version of the article (Yeah google!) available for your perusal at
There is another interesting biographical link with a portrait of
William Harvey from the (http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/Museum/harvey.html)
San Josť State University. You can view a different portrait of Harvey
I have literally, for the last three hours been searching and
searching in an attempt to locate this reference. I have found nothing
relating to the two sisters who were stricken with tandem madness as
you've described. Perhaps if you could name your source, I could use
that in an attempt to locate what you're looking for. From all I've
found, Sir William Harvey was an acclaimed medical doctor, the
'founder' of cardiology and a Christian believer. I have found
absolutely no reference to him delving into psychology or even a
quotation regarding a psychological matter except his thoughts on
unfulfilled desires. I wonder if it still could not be Cushing you are
referring to, because Cushing spent time in Europe studying psychology
according to my research yesterday. If you can provide more
information regarding your source, I will continue searching for you
gladly, I don't like to give wrong answers, so I hope you have more
information or will consider this in your rating.
My search strategies were exhaustive and includes the following
"william harvey" madness
"william harvey" sister mad
"william harvey" folie a deux
"william harvey" insane insanity
"william harvey" psychology
"william harvey" psych
"william harvey" tandem madness
I also browsed several psychology websites to no avail.
The following links contain some reference to William Harvey and small
snipets of information not included in my clarification above.
(another quotation from Harvey)