Monday, June 16, 2014


Suggestion for DSM-6

A friend sent me the following email, to which I've added some hyperlinks, an illustration, and a comment.

In an interview with Peter Vail at the end of his bilingual collection Nativity Poems (1991, rev. 1996), Joseph Brodsky remarks,
You know in psychiatry there's a concept called the "capuchon" complex. A person tries to fence himself off from the world, pulls a hood over himself, and sits down, hunched over.
Three observations. Firstly, where's the book? It should surely read 'and sits down, hunched over a book'. Secondly, it seems an eminently sensible action that any half-civilized human being might have recourse to in this vale of tears and nest of vipers and has no business being labelled a "complex", except of course ... that ... there being no book, the behaviour does indeed present a disturbing picture with the sufferer obviously requiring psychiatric attention. Thirdly, and most puzzlingly, I can't find any reference whatsoever to this "capuchon" complex (if you can, then please pass it on). Was Brodsky translating I wonder from the Russian but why then the Spanish word for hood? In any case, it seems to me to deserve wider currency. Hood in British English is already spoken for metonymically, in 'hoodie', a maladjusted thuggish adolescent understandably shy of security cameras, but in the spirit of Pearsall Smith I propose the resurrection of the monachal 'cowl'. The Cowl Complex is one I wouldn't be at all ashamed to admit to. I suspect that epidemiologically it is significantly linked to benevixitism but that will have to await confirmation from further studies.

Update fromКапюшон:
Капюшо́н (< French Capuchon)

[...] С психологической точки зрения, частое ношение капюшона без необходимости может рассматриваться как защитная реакция на окружающий мир, подсознательное стремление от него отгородиться.

From a psychological point of view, frequent hood-wearing, without having to be regarded as a defensive reaction to the outside world, represents the subconscious desire to dissociate oneself from it.

François Marius Granet (1775-1845), Hermit Reading, in Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (accession number PD.65-1997):

Capuchon does appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, as do capuccio and capuche, but all of these are much less common than Capuchin.

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