Silas Weir Mitchell

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Mitchell, Silas Weir,

1829–1914, American physician and author, b. Philadelphia, M.D. Jefferson Medical College, 1850, studied in Paris. A pioneer in the application of psychology to medicine, he won special fame for his treatment of nervous disorders and for his study of the nervous system. His medical works include treatises on snake venom and neurology, as well as Injuries of Nerves and Their Consequences (1872) and Fat and Blood (1877), which summarizes his well-known rest cure. Among his novels are historical romances (Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker, 1896) and psychological studies (Constance Trescot, 1905). He wrote several volumes of poetry and interspersed lyrics in his novels.


See biography by J. P. Lovering (1971).

Mitchell, Silas Weir

(1829–1914) physician, writer, poet; born in Philadelphia. After taking his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, he continued his medical studies in France, then returned to Philadelphia to practice. During the Civil War, he served as a surgeon for the Union army and collaborated on an important work, Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of Nerves (1864). In the ensuing decades he specialized in neurology and wrote some 120 articles in that field, but he also did work in toxicology, physiology, and pharmacology. He was a pioneer in advocating the "rest cure" and other psychological approaches to nervous conditions, and he made the Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital into a major center for treating nervous disorders. Meanwhile, he had been writing fiction and poetry since the end of the Civil War; his first published story, "The Case of George Dedlow" (1866), was notable for conveying the mental state of a soldier about to enter combat. His collected works would eventually add up to 16 volumes, including once widely read novels such as Roland Blake (1886) and Hugh Wayne, Free Quaker (1897), greatly admired for their psychological insights.
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From the producers of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," Grimm stars David Giuntoli ("Privileged," "Grey's Anatomy"), Russell Hornsby ("In Treatment," "Lincoln Heights"), Silas Weir Mitchell ("Burn Notice," "My Name is Earl"), Bree Turner (Smashed, "The Mentalist"), Sasha Roiz (Pompeii, "Warehouse 13"), Bitsie Tulloch (The Artist, "Tyranny"), Reggie Lee (The Dark Knight Rises, "No Ordinary Family) and Claire Coffee ("Franklin and Bash," "General Hospital").
In addition to the discussion of Higginson, Fuller does an outstanding job outlining the profound emotional effects of the war: Dickinson's odd poems of the wartime period receive excellent treatment, as does Herman Melville's underrated collection "Battle-Pieces:' The quirky Silas Weir Mitchell, the doctor who established the term "shell-shock" is well covered here, including his even quirkier tale "The Case of George Dedlow"; and the book ends with a discussion of emerging views of Heaven and the afterlife (though I think even more theological insight on these matters could strengthen this section).
The book is divided into nine parts, covering; Contact, Pleasure, Pain, Male Bonding, Women's Touch, Control, Uncommon Touch, Tactile Therapies, and Touch and Technology, and each one is populated by writings from authors as diverse as Silas Weir Mitchell (the nineteenth century neurologist who pioneered the 'rest cure method'), Donna Harraway and Klaus Theweleit.
The current 30th anniversary production of Inge's classic, directed by Silas Weir Mitchell, more than keeps alive the company's tradition of quality.
Anson Mount, Jeri Ryan, Joe Cortese, Michael Dorn, Miguel Ferrer, Henry Simmons, Jerry O'Connell, Freddy Rodriguez, Gary Dourdan (CSI), Bruce McGill, Silas Weir Mitchell, Constance Zimmer .