Punch,  31 (1856), 253.

Crinolineomania. Treated Pathologically by Dr Punch



Essay, Spoof


Amusement, Medical Treatment, Disease, Pathology, Reason, Gender, Mental Illness, Psychology

    A thinly-veiled response to the rising fashion for wearing crinoline, this essay treats interest in this material as if it were a medical complaint. Identifying 'crinolineomania' as 'essentially a female complaint' and a 'widely-spreading' disease, describes Dr Punch's claim that the disease originated in Paris and was then spread to England by milliners. Dr Punch also links the speed of transmission to the tendency of the female intellect 'to imitation', and goes on to describe how the disease leads to bodily 'excrescences' that change in colour. Adds that 'Like other insane people, the crinolineomaniac is difficult to approach' and disrupts 'domestic comfort' which leads to divorce. Concludes with Dr Punch's recommendations for thwarting the spread of the disease, which include isolating the 'patient' from such 'exciting causes' as 'illustrated books of fashion' and, noting that the crinolineomaniacs are deaf to reason but not 'blind to ridicule', getting them 'laughed out of their insanity'.

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