Mind-forg'd manacles : a history of madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Porter, Roy, 1946-2002.
Imprint:Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1987.
Description:xii, 412 pages ; 23 cm.
Series:ACLS Humanities E-Book.
Subject:Mental illness -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
Mentally ill -- Care -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
Psychiatry -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
Format: E-Resource Book
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10514119
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Varying Form of Title:Mind-forged manacles
Other authors / contributors:American Council of Learned Societies.
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (pages 351-390) and index.
Electronic text and image data. Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan, Michigan Publishing, 2002. Includes both TIFF files and keyword searchable text. ([ACLS Humanities E-Book]) Mode of access: Intranet. This volume is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Review by Choice Review

This is an informative, well-written addition to the growing number of recent books dealing with the history of madness in England. A work that, as the author admits, ``does little more than skim the surface of many critical topics,'' including madness and culture, confinement, psychiatry, and patients. It is also evident that Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization (CH, Dec '65) continues to influence the historiography. Among the many intriguing hypotheses posed by Foucault was his view that the ``Classical Age'' (middle 17th through most of the 18th century) witnessed a ``Great Confinement'' whereby Western governments rounded up nonproductive elements (poor, criminals, orphans, elderly, mentally retarded, and insane) and locked them in madhouses. Porter argues that there was no ``Great Confinement'' in England during the ``long eighteenth century.'' Although his arguments are certainly plausible and noteworthy, there is no body of quantitative material included in his analysis. Unfortunately, since the ideas of a ``Great Confinement'' suggest great numbers of people locked up, why do historians refuse to count heads? Hence, future advancement on this issue will require a synthesis of traditional intellectual history and the new quantitative methods. Two recent works point the way: Ann Digby's Madness, Morality, and Medicine (CH, May '86) and Michael MacDonald's Mystical Bedlam (1981). Porter is aware of this imperative and promises further research down these lines. This informative book is appropriate for general and advanced readers.-R.F. White, University of Kentucky

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review