Madness and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland

Madness and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland

Uitgever: Oxford University Press

  • Engels
  • Hardcover
  • 9780198207870
  • mei 2000
  • 464 pagina's
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How did people view mental health problems in the eighteenth century, and what do the attitudes of ordinary people towards those afflicted tell us about the values of society at that time? Professor Houston draws upon a wide range of contemporary sources, notably asylum documents, and civil and criminal court records, to present unique insights into the issues around madness, including the written and spoken words of sufferers themselves, and the vocabulary associated with insanity. The links between madness and a range of other issues are explored including madness, gender, social status, religion and witchcraft, in addition to the attributed causes of derangement such as heredity and alcohol abuse. This is a detailed yet profoundly humane and compassionate study of the everyday experiences of those suffering mental impairments ranging from idiocy to lunacy, and an exploration into the meaning of this for society in the eighteenth century.


This is an important study of a society and its attitudes towards insanity (important is, if anything, an understatement of its scope and achievement), it is so not only because of the wealth of detail, of the insane, the imputedly insane, and of sane opinion about insanity, but because of the exemplary sensitivity with which this most personal of topics is unfailingly handled. * Modern Language Review * The supreme value of the book to any reader who is seeking an engagement with the texture of the past is the richness of detail about insanity as witnessed by ordinary people. * Modern Language Review * This book, in providing such thought-provoking material, along with comprehensive and generous analysis, has opened a new chapter in our understanding of eighteenth-century Scotland. * Modern Language Review * This has to be the largest study of mental affliction in any eighteenth-century European society, and is more than a match for Michael MacDonald's pioneering study of Jacobean England ... establishes the distinctive legal and cultural settings of debates on madness in eighteenth-century Scotland. * Continuity and Change * ... an impressive and at times provocative history of madness in Scotland during the 18th century. * Canadian Bulletin of Medical History * This thorough exploration of the lay world of 18th-century madness leads Houston into historiographical nuance and debate on a number of key issues in the field. * Canadian Bulletin of Medical History * ... very able and thoroughly researched ... offers many stimulating and modifying findings which contribute to the ongoing debate about the treatment and meaning of insanity in the eighteenth century and later. * Scottish Archives: The Journal of the Scottish Records Association * This is an important study, and all those interested in the history of madness should have a look at what a work like this, grounded firmly in the archive sources, can do for many of the preconceptions, assertions, assumptions and theories about madness. * Scottish Archives: The Journal of the Scottish Records Association *



Aantal pagina's
464 pagina's


R. A. Houston R. A. Houston
R. A. Houston
Oxford University Press



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