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The Patient's View

Medical Case History of Constance Butterworth, a patient of Holloway Sanatorium (1900-1)


This week’s session focuses on the patient’s view in psychiatry, responding to the call now made many years ago by Roy Porter to ‘do medical history from below’. But can we when we are looking at the history of mental disorder? How does that work, and how did patients respond to and explain their illness or challenge their diagnosis? Does an exploration of the patient’s view add significantly to our understanding of how mental illness was treated and what asylums were like? This week’s readings also urge you to think about the sources we use and approaches we adopt in the history of psychiatry. I will ask you all to focus on Beveridge’s ‘Life in the Asylum’ as well as at least one other reading, and to bring an example of a patient's narrative to the seminar.
Source on patients will be added to Moodle.
  1. What can patient narratives add to the study of the history of madness?
  2. What prompted patients to describe their experiences of confinement?
  3. Can a ‘mad patient’ have a view?
  4. Can case histories be useful in developing our perceptions of insanity and its treatment in the 19th century?
**Allan Beveridge, ‘Life in the Asylum: Patient’s Letters from Morningside, 1873-1908’, History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 431-69. e-journal


** Len Smith,‘“Your Very Thankful Inmate”: Discovering the Patients of an Early County Lunatic Asylum’, Social History of Medicine, 21 (2008), 237-52. e-journal


* Roy Porter, 'The Patients' View: Doing Medical History from Below', Theory and Society, 14 (1985), 175-98.


* Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau and Aude Fauvel, 'The Patient's Turn: Roy Porter and Psychiatry's Tales, Thirty Years On' (introduction to Special Issue of Medical History), 60 (2016), 1-18. See also the other articles in this issue, especially Sarah Chaney, '"No "Sane" Person Would have any Idea": Patients' Involvement in Late Nineteenth-Century British Asylum Psychiatry', 37-53. e-journal


*Richard Hunter and Ida Macalpine,‘John Thomas Percival (1803-1876): Patient and Reformer’, Medical History, 6 (1961), 391-5. e-journal


** Roy Porter, A Social History of Madness: Stories of the Insane(London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987), ch. 9 ‘John Percival: Madness Confined’, ch. 9. Multiple copies in library

Case notes for Alfred Westcott, Holloway Sanatorium (1903)
* Roy Porter, Mind-Forg’d Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency (London: Athlone, 1987; Penguin edn, 1990), ch. 4. Multiple copies in library and e-book
or * Roy Porter, Madmen: A Social History of Madhouses, Mad-Doctors and Lunatics (Stroud: Tempus, 2004), ch. 4.
** Faber Book of Madness, esp. chs. 11 ‘Doctors and Patients’ and 12 ‘Treatments’. Ch. 12. Multiple copies in library
** Dale Peterson (ed.), A Mad People's History of Madness (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981). (Includes material on George Trosse, Alexander Cruden, William Cowper, Daniel Paul Schreber, Vaslav Nijinsky, etc.) e-book
M. Barfoot and A. Beveridge, ‘Madness at the Crossroads: John Home’s Letters from the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, 1886-87’, Psychological Medicine, 20 (1990), 263-84. e-journal
M. Barfoot and A. Beveridge, ‘“Our Most Notable Inmate”: John Willis Mason at the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, 1864-1901’, History of Psychiatry, 4 (1993), 159-208. e-journal
I.D. Smith and A. Swann, ‘In Praise of the Asylum – the Writings of Two Nineteenth-Century Glasgow Patients’, in Leonie de Goei and Joost Viselaar (eds), Proceedings: 1st European Congress on the History of Psychiatry and Mental Health Care (Rotterdam: Erasmus Publishing, 1993), pp. 83-89.
Geoffrey Reaume, Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940 (Oxford University Press, 2000). e-book
Katherine E. Williams, ‘Hysteria in Seventeenth-Century Case Records and Unpublished Manuscripts’, History of Psychology, 1 (1990), 383-401. e-journal
Case notes for Miss Constance Beatrice Coddington (1889)
** Allan Ingram, Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796 (Stroud: Sutton, 1997), essay of Alexander Cruden, ‘The London-Citizen Exceedingly Injured, 1739’, pp. 23- 74
** Allan Ingram (ed.), Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader (Liverpool University Press, 1998). Several copies in the library
** Allan Ingram, Cultural Constructions of Madness in Eighteenth-Century Writing: Representing the Insane (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). e-book
* Colin Gale and Robert Howard, Presumed Curable: An Illustrated Casebook of Victorian Psychiatric Patients in Bethlem Hospital (Petersfield and Philadelpia: Wrightson Biomedical Publishing, 2003).
* Diana Gittins, Madness in its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospitals, 1913-1997 (Routledge: London, 1998). e-book
David Scrimgeour, Proper People: Early Asylum Life in the Words of those Who were There (York: Scrimgeour, 2015).
* Akihito Suzuki, ‘Framing Psychiatric Subjectivity: Doctor, Patient and Record-Keeping at Bethlem in the Nineteenth Century’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 115-36. e-book
* Jonathan Andrews, ‘Case Notes, Case Histories, and the Patient’s Experience of Insanity at Gartnaval Royal Asylum, Glasgow, in the Nineteenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, 11 (1998), 255-81.e-journal
* Hilary Marland, Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain (Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004), chs 4 and 5. e-book
Case notes for Lalage Elizabeth Mayne (1890)
Faber Book of Madness.
Lilian Feder, Madness in Literature (Princeton University Press, 1980).
Katharine Hodgkin, Madness in Seventeenth-Century Autobiography (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2007). e-book
Max Byrd, Visits to Bedlam: Madness and Literature in the Eighteenth Century (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1974).
Allan Ingram, The Madhouse of Language: Writing and Reading Madness in the Eighteenth Century (London and New York: Routledge, 1991).
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Yale University Press, 1979). e-book and mulitple copies in library
Helen Small, ‘“In the Guise of Science”: Literature and the Rhetoric of 19th-Century English Psychiatry’, History of the Human Sciences, 7 (1994), 27-56. e-journal
Helen Small, Love’s Madness: Medicine, the Novel and Female Insanity, 1800-1865 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996). e-book
Philip W. Martin, Mad Women in Romantic Writing (Brighton/New York: Harvester/St.Martin’s Press, 1987).
Ekbert Faas, Retreat into the Mind: Victorian Poetry and the Rise of Psychiatry (Princeton University Press, 1988). e-book
The Women in White, Wilkie Collins (1859)
Barbara Rigney, Madness and Sexual Politics in the Feminist Novel (University of Wisconsin Press, 1978).
The Yellow Wallpaper There is a whole sub-genre on this short book, which we read under Women and Madness: explore the bookshelf around PS.1744.156. e.g. Dale M. Bauer (ed.), The Yellow Wallpaper (Boston: Bedford Books, 1998); Julie Bates Dock, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and the History of its Publication and Reception (Pennsylvania University Press, 1998). Available via Talis Aspire
Thomas C. Caramagno, The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf’s Art and Manic-Depressive Illness (University of California Press, 1992).
Stephen Trombley, ‘All that Summer she was Mad’: Virginia Woolf and her Doctors (London: Junction Books, 1981).
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963, London: Faber & Faber, 1966).
A large numbers of novels that deal with mental disorder, and particularly female madness – many will be familiar to you already - e.g. ‘gothic’ and Victorian sensation novels such as Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, and for the 20th century, less well-known than Plath, Janet Frame’s autobiography, An Angel at my Table (also the subject of a recent film) and her Faces in the Water.