- Undertakers of the Mind: John Monro and Mad-Doctoring in Eighteenth-Century England by Jonathan Andrews and Andrew Scull (review)
- The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats
- The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats
- Volume 36, Number 2, Spring 2004
- pp. 204-205
- View Citation
- Additional Information
204 gregations, and then to Methodism. But in claiming that the Church’s problems were ‘‘more psychological than structural ’’ and in assigning the crisis to the failures of individual clergy, Mr. Spaeth draws a distinction that readers may contest . At what level, for example, is the institutional Church of England, and especially its policy-making hierarchy, responsible for the inflexible positions taken by its ordained clergy? As he points out early, the Church ‘‘was particularly sensitive to evidence of anticlericalism’’ and deeply resented being the target of Restoration wit. Who, in the end, was responsible for the inability of clergy to accept greater lay participation in the liturgy ? Even in those cases where the wealthy and the poor united to challenge the shortcomings of individual parsons and to championtheiridealoftheChurch, were they not also indicting clerical leaders who allowed problems to fester in the first place? As the clergy turned inwards and became more defensive in the face of new perspectives on Protestant Christianity , one might argue that they did so with the acquiescence if not the support of their superiors. W. M. Spellman University of North Carolina at Asheville JONATHAN ANDREWS and ANDREW SCULL. Undertakers of the Mind: John Monro and Mad-Doctoring in Eighteenth -Century England. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: California, 2001. Pp. xxii ⫹ 364. $35. Messrs. Andrews and Scull have used their discovery of John Monro’s 1766 case book, together with significant additional research in other primarysources and an exhaustive examination of the secondary materials, to produce a valuable study in the social history of medicine. They have succeeded in addressing both specialists and a more general audience. While specialists will often find themselves reviewing familiar material, and nonspecialists may have difficulty in discovering what is truly significant in the staggering quantity of details, thesefaults are easily forgiven in view of the interest, authenticity, and variety of perspectives on madness that the book provides. Six chapters cover the emergence of members of the Monro family, who were known as ‘‘mad-doctors’’; the rivalry between John Monro and William Battie in the care of the insane; the treatment of religious enthusiasm, especially Methodism , as insanity; the treatment of insanity among social elites, especially Walpole’s nephew Lord Orford; the nature and profits of private ‘‘madhouses’’; and notorious cases in which the legal definition of insanity and the notion of expert knowledge of insanity played a role: the murder trial ofEarlFerrers;Margaret Nicholson’s attempted assassination of George III; and George III’s own mental illness. Virtuallyeverychapterenriches the reader’s understanding of eighteenth-century interaction with ‘‘lunatics ,’’ but the reader seeks in vain for a clear understanding of what kinds of behavior led to a person’s being considered insane by fellow Englishmen. Of hundreds of endnotes, most lead only to a citation of a document. It would have been helpful to the reader if the citations had been made parenthetically and endnotes reserved for more substantive matters, particularly since occasionally the reader who would like supportfor an assertion about some quotation receives only the documentationofthequotation . The reader with literary interests is surprised not to discover discussion of 205 famously ‘‘mad’’ or possibly disordered writers, such as Johnson, Cowper, and Christopher Smart. Obviously centering the book on cases in which John or another Monro was involved entailed some limitations of scope. Moreover, this book will not replace more historically pointed andcohesivestudies,suchasRoyPorter’s Mind-Forg’d Manacles (1987), though it makes a persuasive case against the vilification of Monro and the treatment of Battie as a scientific hero, arguing that their theories and practice were really quite similar. The book is profusely and usefullyillustrated,withexplanatorycaptions that call attention to the implicit characterization of mental disease or its treatment. Its companion volume, Customers and Patrons of the Mad-Trade: The Management of Lunacy in Eighteenth -Century London, provides the text of the casebook that started it all, but it is this volume that reveals how that text and other primary documents may alter our understanding of the treatment of madness in the period. No seriousstudent of medical history and the interactions of medicine and society can afford to miss it. Patricia Craddock University of Florida A Nation Transformed: England after...