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From Madness to Mental Health

Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

Edited and with an introduction by Greg Eghigian

Publication Year: 2010

In From Madness to Mental Health, Greg Eghigian has compiled a unique anthology of readings, from ancient times to the present, which also includes an updated bibliography of first-person narratives on mental illness compiled by Gail A. Hornstein. This work neither glorifies nor denigrates the contributions of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy, but rather considers how mental disorders have historically challenged the ways in which human beings have understood and valued their bodies, minds, and souls.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi


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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. 1-5

More than perhaps any other set of human afflictions, the phenomena that have gone under the names of “madness,” “insanity,” “lunacy,” and “mental illness” have historically provoked a wide variety of often contradictory reactions. Those who have been in the throes of “madness” have...

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PART I: The Pneumatic Age

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pp. 7-9

From ancient times until well into the eighteenth century, observers, victims, and healers of madness most often understood and treated it as both a physical and metaphysical malady. This was because it was widely believed that human rationality, passions, and desires had at...

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The Ancient World

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pp. 10-46

Saul was the first king of Israel, reigning between roughly 1020 and 1000 B.C.E. Comparatively little is known about his reign, though he was renowned for leading the Israelites in war against their enemies the Philistines. The Bible devotes a great deal of time to recounting Saul’s...

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Medieval and Early Modern Europe

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pp. 47-89

Rufus of Ephesus (first century C.E.) was an ancient physician who authored an influential two-volume work on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of melancholia. The work is lost and is now known only from citations in other works. But it was disseminated in Arabic translation...

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PART II: The Age of Optimism

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pp. 91-93

While ancient, medieval, and early modern healers were far from passive in their treatment of the mad, during this time there was a degree of acceptance that incurable madnesses were a fact of human existence, that the world would never rid itself of the affliction. ...

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Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Reform

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pp. 94-133

In overturning the old, feudal order, the French Revolution (1789– 1799) opened up leadership positions to a new class and generation of eager men and women schooled in Enlightenment thought. One such individual was the physician Philippe Pinel. Born into a family of doctors...

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The Asylum

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pp. 134-167

Beginning in November 1850, the patients at the Utica State Lunatic Asylum in upstate New York began writing, editing, and publishing a monthly newsletter, the Opal. Dedicating their effort to “usefulness,” patients and ex-patients were given remarkable license to pen essays, poems, and reflections. ...

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Brain Science, Nerves, and Clinical Psychiatry

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pp. 168-228

Although today it is often dismissed as little more than quackery, phrenology—the study of the shape and size of crania and how these relate to character attributes—was a serious discipline in the nineteenth century and a precursor to the field of neurology. Its founder, the Badenese...

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PART III: The Militant Age

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pp. 229-232

By the turn of the twentieth century, many were questioning the optimistic outlook that had been voiced in the nineteenth century. The precipitous increase in the asylum population, the apparent emergence of new nervous disorders, and the often disappointing results of therapies...

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War and Neurosis

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pp. 233-244

Although hysteria was long associated with girls and young women, French and German clinicians during the last third of the nineteenth century began recognizing the increasing prevalence of the illness in men. In particular, industrial workers of all kinds complained of a...

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The New Focus on the Body

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pp. 245-293

Hydrotherapy—the use of water to treat ailments—dates back to ancient times. By the end of the nineteenth century, it was enjoying something of renaissance and had become a staple in the psychiatric treatment of disorders. Among the most prominent applications of hydrotherapy...

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Psychiatric Eugenics in Nazi Germany

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pp. 294-311

Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) and the Nazi Party borrowed heavily from earlier racist and eugenic thinkers. Social Darwinism and eugenics advocates had begun to consider what they believed to be the racial implications of natural selection already in the nineteenth century. ...

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Mental Illness, Psychiatry, and Communism

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pp. 312-332

The experience of hallucination (perceiving someone or something that is really not there) has long been recognized in Western society as a characteristic feature of mental disorder. While ethno-psychiatrists and historians have noted some striking similarities in the form that...

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Antipsychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Deinstitutionalization

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pp. 333-367

Frantz Fanon, the son of an upper-middle-class Indian Martinican father and an Alsatian mother, was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Martinique. It was in Martinique, a French colony until 1946, that Fanon first became conscious of the ways in which a colonial setting...

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PART IV: The Psychoboom

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pp. 369-420

In the decades following World War II, the fields of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy experienced unprecedented growth. In the United States, membership in the American Psychological Association grew from 2,739 in 1940, to 30,839 in 1970, to around...

Appendix: Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English (Fourth Edition)

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pp. 421-451


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pp. 453-456

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About the Editor

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Greg Eghigian is Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program and Associate Professor of Modern History at Penn State University. A historian of psychiatry and the human sciences as well as of modern Germany, he has written on the history of such topics as...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813549095
E-ISBN-10: 0813549094
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813546650
Print-ISBN-10: 0813546656

Page Count: 480
Illustrations: 10 photographs and 4 tables
Publication Year: 2010