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Publisher's Summary

Hysteria! presents tales of howling nuns, fainting schoolgirls, witches, wombs, online panics and threats – both imagined and real. Crossing decades and continents, and from personal panics to societal scares, Alice Lowe explores hysterical behaviour. Come join the delirium....

Hysteria is a word that regularly gets misused. It gets attached to everything from overly emotional behaviour to moral panics, via stock market crashes, stampedes, viral videos and more. It’s often used – pejoratively – about women, and it shares its roots with the ancient Greek word for womb. The story of hysteria touches on issues of stigma, gender, morality and power. But how do we separate mass psychogenic illness from mere emotional excess?

Filmmaker, actress and writer Alice Lowe has long been fascinated by the grey area between behavioural control and abandon. In this six-part series, she explores what we really mean when we talk about frenzies, fevers, manias and panics – both individually and throughout society.

Produced by Wisebuddah for Audible Originals.

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 6 episodes to your Library now.

©2019 Audible, Ltd. (P)2019 Audible, Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"The more I listened, the more contemporary it seemed." (Sunday Times)

"An illuminating series that is part history lesson and part portent of future calamity. While the stories of past outbreaks are merely entertaining, the reflections on present-day fake news and how our modes of communication encourage wild conspiracy theories are enough to make the listener themself hysterical." (FT)

What listeners say about Hysteria!

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entertaining, well produced

well made - great narration, sound effects and background score. Interesting collection of topics for each chapter with plenty of real life examples, which made it highly relatable. The presentation was engaging. recommend!

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Keeps you plugged in

Nice narration, with good background music. Keeps you plugged in. Though at some cases it makes you wonder if those really happened.

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Not recommended

This series doesn't help in building up an individual. Though it's free, it's not worth the time.

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good to listen

loved it . in india also lots of news channel now spreading rumours in one program , and in another program they are going to fact check other rumours . it is good to listen to know about hysteria , i loved it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-19

Love love love!

I really enjoyed this! I just wish there were more episodes! Thought the narration was excellent too. Genuinely just wish there was more. Such an interesting topic and really got me thinking.

7 people found this helpful

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  • C. Soper
  • 12-08-19

Fantasticly entertaining and informative

Really enjoyed listening. Made me want to look into the issues further and link it to gender performativity theory.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Addlestone
  • 09-08-19

Best listen since West Cork

Loved this. Alice Lowe's Hysteria is intelligent and entertaining with great narration. Interesting content, fascinating investigation and best thing I've listened to since the superb West Cork. More please.

5 people found this helpful

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  • laura holmes
  • 11-08-19

Love this, insightful and humourous.

Well researched, a wide range of experts and topics covered. Fascinating and handled with great sensitivity and insight.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ekaterina
  • 11-08-19

A fascinating look at a lesser known phenomenon

Alice Lowe masterfully blends historical and contemporary accounts with eyewitness testimony and expert opinion. brilliant.

4 people found this helpful

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  • debbie evans
  • 06-08-19

interesting

it was interesting and informative would listen to it again enjoyed it will pass it on

7 people found this helpful

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  • K. D.
  • 28-01-20

Dismisses evidence as 'sexist', gives no reasons

As a woman in academia, I'm disappointed to hear the narrator shout 'sexist' at a male academic because the evidence he is presenting suggests a difference between men and women. The cheap shot taken at him being a male expert on hysteria is completely undermined by the fact that another male expert is interviewed next in a positive light while making *the same claim*. I don't know why the narrator didn't like the first expert, but it makes the whole end of the second episode rather an embarrassment.

2 people found this helpful

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  • caho
  • 05-08-19

Thought Provoking

Fascinating topic and I enjoyed the way they covered the very strange historical stuff through to the forms it takes in modern life. Thought provoking

7 people found this helpful

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  • R
  • 25-08-19

Very good

Traces the history of hysteria but perhaps more importantly looks at the potential for mass hysteria through the influence of social media today.
Entertaining and informative.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-08-19

Fun and interesting

This was lightweight but funny and interesting. I liked the relaxed format between presenter and producer and really liked that it was made by women.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TrexTeaTime
  • 06-09-19

Thoroughly entertaining and compelling

This was such a great listen. Thoroughly entertaining, compelling and thought provoking.

The true stories are accompanied by sound effects and music that really set the scene.
A broad range of sub topics relating to hysteria are covered, and each episode delves into the history and science of these mass hysteria events.

I love the way the podcast is set out. It's presented like an intelligent discussion with a friend. It's funny and scientific. It asks questions and admits what we still don't know.

I don't think I've ever experienced a science based/non-fiction book that has had open discussions about how much is still unknown, and the importance of being comfortable with this, and fact checking. And that's important.

Give this one a listen.

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  • Alice
  • 17-08-19

Great work!

I love the range of topics & stories involved. Just when you think they have done it all they add new angle you wouldn’t think to look into. It is very well done.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-21

Fascinating!

Really well done. I would say though don't listen at night or when you're potentially easily scared. I actually found myself looking over my shoulder in ep 6!!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-03-21

great listen!

loved it! Informative, interesting, good narrator, looked her up and got "Blood on Satans claw"

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-04-20

Alice is such an amazing storyteller

I recommend get the Hysteria. Love the tales and interviews done by Alice.
Alice you must make a TV series. The content is absolutely mind-blowing.

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  • Kitty Hawkins
  • 16-01-20

Highly recommended.

Alice Lowe is engaging, thoughtful and funny in her delivery, and the content - while very complex and occasionally confronting - is fascinating.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-12-19

Great historical information

Really enjoyed the content and it's application for today. A great way to look inside how hysteria can spread, and often does, through society or communities - especially in today's easy culture of social media. Thanks for thinking outside the square!

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  • Ishy Neville
  • 18-11-19

Eerily awesome

Well researched and presented. Some pieces.will have you checking your door locks or, better still, assumptions.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-10-19

Totally Hysterical

I really loved this podcast. I'd only just finished listening to Victorian Secrets narrated by Stephen Fry and Hysteria was the perfect segue! Highly recommended!