The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain, 1700-1900

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Yale University Press, 1993 - Social Science - 442 pages
The routine confinement of the deranged in a network of specialized and purposely built asylums is essentially a 19th-century phenomenon. Likewise, it is only from the Victorian era that a newly self-conscious and organized profession of psychiatry emerged and sought to shut the mad away in therapeutic isolation. In this book, Andrew Scull studies the evolution of the treatment of lunacy in England and Wales, tracing what lies behind the transformations in social practices and beliefs, examining how institutional management of the mad came to replace traditional systems of family and local care, and exploring the striking contrast between the utopian expectations of the asylum's founders and the harsh realities of life in these asylums.

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About the author (1993)

Andrew Scull is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. His books include "Hysteria: The Disturbing History," "Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine," and "Masters of Bedlam: The Transformation of the Mad-Doctoring Trade" (Princeton). He lives in La Jolla, California.

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