The loss of reason, a sense of alienation from the commonsense world we all like to imagine we inhabit, the shattering emotional turmoil that seizes hold and won't let go—these are some of the traits we associate with madness. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense of it through religion or the supernatural, or by constructing psychological or social explanations in an effort to tame the demons of unreason. Madness in Civilization traces the long and complex history of this affliction and our attempts to treat it.
Beautifully illustrated throughout, Madness in Civilization takes readers from antiquity to today, painting a vivid and often harrowing portrait of the different ways that cultures around the world have interpreted and responded to the seemingly irrational, psychotic, and insane. From the Bible to Sigmund Freud, from exorcism to mesmerism, from Bedlam to Victorian asylums, from the theory of humors to modern pharmacology, the book explores the manifestations and meanings of madness, its challenges and consequences, and our varied responses to it. It also looks at how insanity has haunted the imaginations of artists and writers and describes the profound influence it has had on the arts, from drama, opera, and the novel to drawing, painting, and sculpture.
Written by one of the world’s preeminent historians of psychiatry, Madness in Civilization is a panoramic history of the human encounter with unreason.
Andrew Scull is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Masters of Bedlam: The Transformation of the Mad-Doctoring Trade (Princeton).
"Sociologist and historian Andrew Scull is too rigorous a scholar to indulge in polemics. Instead, Mr. Scull has set himself the task of providing his readers with a clear, engaged and global overview of madness from the ancient world to the present…[his] tone is elegant; his scholarship, immaculate. The story he tells is riveting." "--Joanna Bourke, Wall Street Journal
"Scull’s knowledge of music and art, cultural change, medicine, religion, and politics make this a great achievement in psychiatric history…[a] dynamic, readable chronicle and excellent reference."--Library Journal, starred review
"[A] far-ranging, illuminating study of minds gone awry across space and time. . . . Scull is sharp on every point, but some of his best moments come when he explains the introduction of psychoanalysis into pop culture in the postwar period, thanks in good part to Hollywood, and when he takes a sidelong look at both the drug-dependent psychiatry of today and its discontents, such as Scientology. To be read as both corrective and supplement to Foucault, Szasz, and Rieff. Often brilliant and always luminous and rewarding."--Kirkus, starred review
"Methodical yet always engrossing. . . . Scull's book is an outstanding illumination."--Oliver Kamm, Times of London
"[A] powerful and disturbing book . . . fascinating . . . engrossing."--John Carey, Sunday Times
"[Scull's] wide-ranging survey . . . chronologically presents factual and imaginative material about insanity. Scull, a historian of psychiatry for almost 40 years, has been well-served by his publishers, who have laid on more than 80 black-and-white images and almost 50 high-quality colour plates."--Sarah Wise, Financial Times
Table of Contents:
Chapter One CONFRONTING MADNESS 10
Chapter Two MADNESS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD 16
Chapter Three THE DARKNESS AND THE DAWN 48
Chapter Four MELANCHOLIE AND MADNESSE 86
Chapter Five MADHOUSES AND MAD-DOCTORS 122
Chapter Six NERVES AND NERVOUSNESS 162
Chapter Seven THE GREAT CONFINEMENT 188
Chapter Eight DEGENERATION AND DESPAIR 224
Chapter Nine THE DEMI-FOUS 268
Chapter Ten DESPERATE REMEDIES 290
Chapter Eleven A MEANINGFUL INTERLUDE 322
Chapter Twelve A PSYCHIATRIC REVOLUTION? 358
Sources of Illustrations 440
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Andrew Scull:
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