The Origin of the project

The project

This web documentary is the result of multidisciplinary research work (literature, language, history and philosophy). It was born out of an observation: if we read through medical texts from the 16th-18th centuries, we are struck by the omnipresence of the problem of pain, which goes against the widely held idea doctors and philosophers did not seriously concern themselves with pain until the end of the 18th century.

Through a comparative analysis of various sources (texts, images, music), our team of researchers has uncovered recurring questions that contradict some of our prejudices and sometimes resonate more strongly than we could have imagined with the concerns of modern medicine.

An exhibition at Rockefeller medical library (BU Santé, Lyon), presented to the public in the winter of 2020-2021, allowed us to showcase the preliminary stages of this research. It has been developed into this web documentary, consisting of a virtual exhibition, excerpts from works from this time period to read and listen to, and interviews with a number of neurologists. These filmed interviews confront ancient and contemporary conceptions of pain: in particular, they show that the issues of the signs of pain and the language used to express pain are still being explored both in the medical field and in human sciences.

The team

Raphaële Andrault | Researcher at the CNRS (Philosophy), IHRIM UMR 5317

Ariane Bayle | Senior lecturer (Comparative literature), Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, IHRIM UMR 5317

Elisa Andretta | Researcher at the CNRS (History), LARHRA UMR 5190

Dominique Brancher | Associate professor (Ancient literature), Université de Bâle

Nicolas Lechopier | Senior lecturer (Philosophy), Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, S2HEP EA 4148

Pascal Luccioni | Senior lecturer (Greek literature), Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, HISOMA UMR 5190

Isabelle Moreau | Senior lecturer (French literature), ENS de Lyon, IHRIM UMR 5317

Michèle Rosellini | Researcher (French literature), IHRIM UMR 5317