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Autism in History

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Autism in History

The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue



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Autism in History by Rab Houston
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This case study is the result of a unique collaboration between a social historian and a cognitive scientist. It examines the enigmatic case of Hugh Blair, an eighteenth century Scottish 'laird' or landowner, whose arranged marriage was annulled on the grounds of his mental incapacity. Through an in-depth study of the evidence surrounding the case, the authors conclude that Blair, who was classed at the time as a 'fool', was in fact autistic. Writing in a lively and engaging style, the authors draw together witness statements from court records with a wide range of other documentation to set the sociohistoric scene for the case. This provides a fascinating context to which the latest theories on autism are applied. This book will not only intrigue both historians and psychologists but will also appeal to a wider audience for its study of this compelling and deeply affecting human story.

Author Biography

Rab Houston is Professor of Early Modern History at theUniversity of St Andrews. He has extensive research experience inthe social history of Britain and Europe in the early modernperiod. Best known for his work on seventeenth andeighteenth-century Scotland, his published books include Madnessand Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland. Uta Frith is a Professor of Cognitive Development atUniversity College of London and Deputy Director of the Instituteof Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College of London. Shehas pioneered investigations into the mind of the individual withautism and has a keen interest in the impact of the disorder onboth sufferer and carers. Her book, Autism: Explaining the Enigmahas been translated into many languages.
Release date NZ
September 17th, 2000
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Blackwell Publishers
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