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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: January 2010

1 - Historical aspects of memory and its disorders

from Part I


This chapter deals with the conceptual history of memory complaints and disorders relatable to psychiatric practice, particularly with the contribution of nineteenth-century alienists. In pre-nineteenth century classical writers identified two aspects of memory: 'conservation' and 'retrieval'. During the early nineteenth century, French philosophy of mind is best represented in the work of LaromiguiŠre and Royer-Collard who believed that memories had first to be entertained in consciousness. The term amnesia is already present in the medical language of the early nineteenth century. Jules Falret (1865), a well-known alienist, his work on amnesia offers one of the best accounts of the disorder available at the division of the century. The chapter suggests that the psychiatric practice we have now is a result of an interaction between the models of memory impairment developed out of clinical observation and the experimental tradition started with Ebbinghaus.