Saint Hysteria examines scientific, literary, and religious texts that share a fascination with the otherness of the female body, whether in ecstatic pleasure or in neurotic pain. Cristina Mazzoni focuses on material from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mainly in Italy and France. Her approach uses the methodologies of cultural studies and feminism but also benefits from the insights of psychoanalytic criticism. She asks how the identification of mysticism with hysteria became prevalent, and explores the continuing dialogue between a historicizing view of hysteria and a view of hysteria as repressed religious mysticism. According to Mazzoni, this dialogue is discernible at various levels and in a variety of discourses. The medical history of hysteria, she maintains, is often linked to the religious history of supernatural phenomena, and the medical discourse of positivism depends on the religious-feminine element that it attempts to repress. Similarly, she finds a continuity between the literature of naturalism and that of decadence in their representations of the interdependence of neurosis and religion. Finally, the religious writings of women mystics and the discourses they inspired reveal an unresolved tension between nature and supernature, body and soul (or psyche) which, Mazzoni suggests, mirrors and complicates the very issues raised by hysterical conversion. Among those whose views she considers are the writers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, Gabriele d?Annunzio, and Antonio Fogazzaro, as well as Graham Greene and Simone Weil; the mystics Angela of Foligno, Gemma Galgani, and Teresa of Avila; and the theorists Jean-Martin Charcot, Cesare Lombroso, Jacques Lacan, Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray.