Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England
This highly original book brilliantly exposes the phenomenon of false allegations of lunacy and the dark motives behind them in the Victorian period.
Gaslight tales of rooftop escapes, men and women snatched in broad daylight, patients shut in coffins, a fanatical cult known as the Abode of Love...
The nineteenth century saw repeated panics about sane individuals being locked away in lunatic asylums. With the rise of the ‘mad-doctor’ profession, English liberty seemed to be threatened by a new generation of medical men willing to incarcerate difficult family members in return for the high fees paid by an unscrupulous spouse or friend.
Sarah Wise uncovers twelve shocking stories, untold for over a century and reveals the darker side of the Victorian upper and middle classes – their sexuality, fears of inherited madness, financial greed and fraudulence – and chillingly evoke the black motives at the heart of the phenomenon of the ‘inconvenient person.'
‘A fine social history of the people who contested their confinement to madhouses in the 19th century, Wise offers striking arguments, suggesting that the public and juries were more intent on liberty than doctors and families’ Sunday Telegraph
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A great read, and evidence of much hard work. Speaking as the first full-length biographer of Louisa Nottidge (Bring Me My Chariot Of Fire - The Life Of Louisa Nottidge 1802-1858) I am in a good position to express admiration for her work. Sarah Wise has picked up an important and previously unnoticed thread relating to Louisa Nottidge and the Agapemone - the many suicides after 1860 at the Agapemone, and she also makes excellent use of local newspaper reports (Bridgewater Times). Did Louisa's experiences at the Agapemone also inspire Carroll's Alice In Wonderland? (see Skeffington Lutwidge, etc)
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - stephengoldenberg - LibraryThing
Some fascinating case studies but the book is a bit over long for the subject. The case studies are sometimes too similar and repetitive. Read full review
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Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-doctors in Victorian England
No preview available - 2013