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A Social History of Mad-houses, Mad-doctors and Lunatics



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Madmen by Roy Porter
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What was it like to be insane in the Georgian England of Mary Wollstonecraft and Coleridge (himself afflicted with madness?) How were our eighteenth-century ancestors confined and how were they treated by the fledgling psychiatric 'profession'? Indeed, how was the most famous mad person of the century - Shelley's 'old, mad, blind, despised king' George III - treated before his final descent into senility in 1808? Best-selling popular historian Roy Porter looks at the bizarre and savage practices of mad-doctors treating those afflicted by 'manias', ranging from huge doses of opium, blood-letting and cold-water immersion to beatings, confinement in cages and blistering. The author reveals how Bethlem - the London asylum created to care for the capital's mentally sick - was riddled with sadism and embezzlement, and if that wasn't dehumanising enough, jeering, ogling sightseers were permitted entry - for a fee of course.
Release date NZ
February 1st, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
The History Press Ltd
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