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Bibliography: Introductory Reading

Quick Introductions:

  • Roy Porter, ‘Psychiatry’, in idem, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 493-524.
  • Roy Porter, ‘Mental Illness’, in Roy Porter (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 278-303.
  • Roy Porter, Madness: A Brief History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
  • Andrew Scull, Madness: A Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Michael Neve, ‘Medicine and the Mind’, in Irvine Loudon (ed.), Western Medicine: An Illustrated History (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 232-48.
  • Joan Lane, A Social History of Medicine: Health, Healing and Disease in England, 1750-1950 (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), ch. 6 ‘Asylums and Prisons’.
  • Jack D. Pressman, ‘Concepts of Mental Illness in the West’, in Kenneth F. Kiple (ed.), The Cambridge World History of Human Diseases (Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 59-84.
See also the Open University textbooks and accompanying source books:
  • Peter Elmer, ‘The Care and Cure of Mental Illness’, in Peter Elmer (ed.), The Healing Arts: Health, Disease and Society in Europe (Manchester University Press, with the Open University, 2004), pp. 228-56.
  • Peter Elmer and Ole Peter Grell (eds), Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1500- 1800: A Source Book (Manchester University Press, with the Open University, 2004), Part 9 ‘The Care and Cure of the Insane in Early Modern Europe’, pp. 231-55.
  • Jonathan Andrews, ‘The Rise of the Asylum in Britain’, in Deborah Brunton (ed.), Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930 (Manchester University Press, with the Open University, 2004), pp. 298-330.
  • Deborah Brunton (ed.), Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930 (Manchester University Press, with the Open University, 2004), Part 11 ‘The Growth of the Asylum’, pp. 229-53.


You should familiarise yourself with the following texts:
  • Peter Bartlett and David Wright (eds), Outside the Walls of the Asylum: The History of Care in the Community 1750-2000 (London: Athlone, 1999).
  • Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (London: Tavistock, 1967). (Available in paperback)  
  • Allan Ingram (ed.), Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader (Liverpool University Press, 1998). (Available in paperback)
  • Joseph Melling and Bill Forsythe (eds), Insanity, Institutions and Society, 1800-1914 (London and New York, 1999).
  • Joseph Melling and Bill Forsythe (eds), The State, Insanity and Society in England, 1845-1914 (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).
  • Roy Porter, A Social History of Madness: Stories of the Insane (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987, Phoenix 1996). (Available in paperback)
  • Roy Porter, Mind-Forg’d Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency (London: Athlone, 1987; Penguin edn, 1990).
  • See also Roy Porter, Madmen: A Social History of Madhouses, Mad-Doctors and Lunatics (Stroud: Tempus, 2004), which is an illustrated version of Mind- Forg’d Manacles. (Available in paperback)
  • Roy Porter (ed.), The Faber Book of Madness (London: Faber and Faber, 1991, 1993). (Available in paperback)
  • Andrew Scull, Madness in Civilization (London: Thames & Hudson, 2015).
  • Andrew Scull (ed.), Madhouses, Mad-Doctors, and Madmen: The Social History of Psychiatry in the Victorian Era (London: Athlone, 1981).
  • Andrew Scull, The Most Solitary of All Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain, 1700-1900 (Yale University Press, 1993) (Available in paperback)
  • Andrew Scull, The Insanity of Place/The Place of Insanity: Essays on the History of Psychiatry (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).
  • Edward Shorter, A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac (New York: Wiley, 1997). (Decent though ‘biased’ overview; available in paperback)

Useful reference books:

  • G.E. Berrios, A History of Mental Symptoms: Descriptive Psychopathology since the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1996). A useful guide to the language and symptoms of psychiatry, written by a psychiatrist-historian.
  • G.E. Berrios and H. Freeman (eds), 150 Years of British Psychiatry 1841-1991 (London: Althone, 1991). An out-of-print collection of useful essays.
  • Hugh Freeman and German Berrios (eds.), 150 Years of British Psychiatry, Vol. II: the Aftermath (London: Athlone, 1996).
  • Richard A. Hunter and Ida Macalpine, Three Hundred Years of Psychiatry: 1535-1860 (London: Oxford University Press, 1963). Old and somewhat dated, but still useful, and a mine of information.
  • M.S. Micale and Roy Porter (eds), Discovering the History of Psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 1994). Packed with useful essays, particularly strong on historiography.
  • Edward Shorter, A Historical Dictionary of Psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 2005) (Library reference section)
  • Michael H. Stone, Healing the Mind: A History of Psychiatry from Antiquity to the Present (London: Pimlico, 1998). (An ‘everything you ever wanted to know’… but a useful starting point to many topics, so long as you don’t rely on it too much!).