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Madness: A Brief History

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  551 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Roy Porter's historical overview of madness reveals the radically different perceptions of madness and approaches to its treatment, from antiquity to the beginning of the 21st century. Roy Porter's historical overview of madness reveals the radically different perceptions of madness and approaches to its treatment, from antiquity to the beginning of the 21st century.
Paperback, 258 pages
Published May 8th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2002)
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Rinda Elwakil
يتساءل بولينوس بحكمته و فطنته الواضحتين: أليس تعريف الجنون هو الجنون بذاته؟
Jul 25, 2008 jo rated it it was ok
just reread this and i have to jack down its rating from five to two stars! i read it the first time around when writing my dissertation, so i guess the always-last-minute three-year-long crunch dulled my senses and my intellect.

this is a rarefied and intellectual-sounding (oh, i am being ungenerous; it is, truth be told, intellectual enough, even erudite) history of mental illness, in the first part, and psychiatry, in the latter. the first part, an intellectual history of the evolving idea of
Feb 04, 2013 طيف rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
لم احبذ ان اكون صاحبة اول قراءة عربية للكتاب ، كاتب ممتع مهم وخفيف
الترجمة سيئة بعض الشيء ، لكن يتطرق لمواضيع اثارت اهتمامي ، كتاريخ الطب العقلي والعصبي حتى بحوث فرويد .
وماقبل ذلك كتاريخ المصحة فقد كانت مكان لتجمع الأواح الشريرة باعتقادهم وللتقييد بالأغلال والتعذيب حتى وصلت إلى ماهي عليه اللآن ومامرت به من ظروف ، وطرق العلاج المتخذه كالعلاج الاخلاقي والجراحي وبالعقاقير ،
قرائتي له كانت سريعة في أوقات الإنتظار ، التعريفات عن ماهية الجنون والمجنون به تستحق التأمل
Intesar Alemadi
موجز تاريخ الجنون ..
روي بورتر ..
كلمة ..

عن دار كلمة التي تتصف أغلب ترجماتها بالرديئة .. خاصة الروايات ..
اقتنيت هذا الكتاب الذي لفت نظري عنوانه .. ظننت أني سأقرأ تاريخ الجنون بشكل مغاير عما سرده الكتاب .. الكتاب يقدم أشكال الجنون والمصحات والعلاجات التي أُتخذت في صددها من التاريخ الأغريقي وحتى القرن العشرين ..
في ثمانية فصول وخاتمة .. عدم ترتيب الأحداث خلال الفصول شتت تفكيري وأشعرني ببعض الملل .. الترجمة الحرفية لبعض الأمراض كانت سقطة من سقطات الترجمة ..
دار كلمة .. أرجوكم ثلاثاً .. اعتن
Jul 01, 2016 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Porter covers a staggering amount of terrain in a little over 200 pages. He shows how the idea of madness developed from ancient conceptions of divine influence (being 'touched' by the gods) into the more materialist perspective that forms the roots of our scienfitic/medical understanding of the mind today.

He also gives us a gloss of how madness has been culturally understood and responded to over the millenia, from confining the mad and dousing them with cold water (surprise! it doesnt really
Abu Hasan
يستاهل الكتاب نجمات ونصف
يركز الكتاب على (سرد المفاهيم المتعلقة بالمرض العقلي وطرق علاج المجانين) منذ اعتبار (الانسان المريض عقليا يمثل استثناء) إلى اعتبار الجنون (ليس بالضرورة انهيارا، فقد يكون اختراقا وسموا. ومن الممكن أن يكون تحررا وانبعاثا جديدا مثلما يكون عبودية وموتا وجوديا). وإن نظرة على فهرس الكتاب تظهر غنى محتويات الكتاب وتسلسلها في العرض، وهو كذلك، غني بالمعلومات دون إسهاب أو استطراد لا داعي له
هالةْ أمين

في حوار دار بين صحفي قام بزيارة أحد النزلاء في مستشفى بدلام "المستشفى المختص بالأمراض العقلية" في بريطانيا، تحدث مجنون مطولا وبحدة ضد حكومة الملك فقال له الصحفي أنه يستحق أن يؤخذ بتهمة الخيانة فيعدم فقال له:
إنك امرؤ أحمق فنحن المجانين نمتلك حريّة التعبير عما يعتمل في أنفسنا، فيقول المرء منا مايشاء دون أن يسائله أحد، فالحقيقة مضطهدة خارج رواق هذا المكان وهي تأزر إليه بحثًا عن ملاذ تكون فيه آمنة على نفسها، كما يأمن الفاسق في الكنيسة أو المومس في دير الراهبات. وأنا أستطيع أن أستغل هذا المكان كما أش
Lisa M.
Jun 19, 2012 Lisa M. rated it liked it
Shelves: 5252, non-fiction
This book would be better titled “Madness: A Brief History of Madness in Western Society.” In the introduction, Porter claims that he will only address views on madness in Western society. In a 218 page book, it was difficult to summarize western madness— let alone including Eastern traditions. Porter handled this without tact, however. I would have liked it if he had written an accompanying, similar book about the Eastern concepts of madness. I know a lot about insanity— I have done a lot of pe ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Carolyn rated it did not like it
I initially disregarded the negative reviews on this book as I'm relatively naive to the classical history of psychology and psychiatry. However, less than fifty pages into Madness I found myself annoyed at the author's blatant progressivist bias and Western-centric attitude. In Porter's preamble, it is stated that no Eastern thought will be covered;to blatantly exclude half of the world's history in psychology and psychiatry is mere ignorance and laze. The history of mental illness is chronicle ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
I was intrigued by this presentation of history's perceptions and explanations of, treatments for, and reactions toward madness and the mad. I especially enjoyed the section on the humors and learning how the poor, ill, and distressed were often treated as mad people. But then there are varying degrees of madness and the word's definition has always been in a state of flux. Something else that fascinated me was learning how people have tried for centuries to pin down connections between the mind ...more
الكتاب أكاديمي بحت، وأغلب مادته عن تاريخ علاج المرض وتشخيصه.
Apr 20, 2016 Gottfried rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
A great introduction to the history of Mental Illness. He starts from the earliest time of mental illness and to our modern day. Roy does a good job of delineating each era. I learnt a lot of stories, they were intriguing. It seems that, the issue of treating the individual as a human being is important. I am not sure if this is being followed everywhere. A person suffering from mental illness might be brushed aside and thought of as a beast. A lot of people, who were deemed unfit for society we ...more
Tiffany Sauls
Sep 28, 2015 Tiffany Sauls rated it really liked it
Imagine being strapped down to a boarded and basically drowned because of a physical or mental deformity that caused you to be accused of witchcraft. This is just one of the many extreme examples used in Roy Porter's book Madness: A Brief History of Time. Porter follows the history and study of psychological issues starting from the beginning of time to present day. He follows a wide variety of aspect and quotes many famous psychiatrist and philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. ...more
Jonjane Doe
When Van Gogh painted himself, who can say whether he was painting madness?—all that is clear is that he was painting misery.
I enjoyed the book; it’s an accessible whizz through perceptions and treatment of madness through the ages. It is not a serious exploration of mental illness, rather a sort of travel guide to trends.

His conclusion is jarring.

Yet public confidence in the psychiatric profession is low, as is evident from the ubiquitously distrustful images in the arts and reports in the popu
Dec 02, 2015 Ksenia rated it really liked it
A very brief overview - from a Western perspective only, but I found this book informative and refreshing in how clearly it outlined its scope right from the introduction. Mildly horrifying (crazy peoples' treatment throughout history always will be) but presented in a way that doesn't downplay the trauma or sensationalise it. It feels like a great starting point to looking at more in depth histories in the subject area or for looking at say, just a history of psychiatry or even just Freud himse ...more
فاطمة الابراهيم

صحيح أن الكتاب يتحدث بموجز عن تاريخ الجنون إلا أنه لم يتطرق بالكتابة عن أهم الحقائق التأريخية لهذا المرض ، كما أن هنالك الكثير من المصطلحات المرضية والشخصيات التي أتى بالحديث عنها ولم يكلف الكاتب أو حتى المترجم عناء وضع هوامش توضيحية .

ورغم أن الترجمة جيدة جداً إلا أنها ليس من النوع الذي يدفع القارئ لإستئناف القراءة ، فاللغة متكلفة بعض الشيء ، والحقائق متداخلة مما شتت تفكيري في كثير من الأحيان ، بمعنى آخر أفتقدت للتنظيم ولا أدري العتب على الكاتب أم المترجم ، كان من الأجدر الإعتماد على التسلسل الز
Laura Britton
Jan 21, 2015 Laura Britton rated it it was ok
Madness: A Brief History
This book is a history of how the world has viewed insanity throughout the ages. It begins with the start of history all the way down to our day and age. It includes how the insane were viewed and treated, as well as key figures in the history of insanity. It also discusses the question of what causes insanity, and what constitutes being insane. It even entertains the possibility that insanity does not exist and is a man-made device for keeping “different” people out of
Apr 11, 2016 Raffi rated it it was amazing
Porter gives a nice, little overview of the evolution of society's relationship to and perception of mental illness (the book's title is itself an archaic word for mental illness), half of which centers on the development of modern psychiatry from the eighteenth century onward (and the internal, ongoing battle between biopsychosocial and medical models of practice). Many histories of this subject are purported to be either dogmatic in their allegiance to psychiatry or ignorant in their aversion ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Abdulbasit rated it it was ok
الترجمة سيئة ، كان بالإمكان اختصار نصف الكتاب!
فكرة مميزة وهناك تفاوت في جودة الفصول.
يتحدث هذا الكتاب عن معني الجنون علي مر التاريخ بشكل مختصر وموجز. التطور في مفاهيم وطرق علاج الجنون بداية من تاريخ الإغريق حتى القرن العشرين. تطور الجنون من مس شيطاني أو لعنة إلي مرض قد يعاني منه المجتمع. وعرض كذالك بعض مما يفكر فيه المرضي من تجاربهم في المصحات وما يدور في عقولهم وطرق العلاج المختلفة التي خضعوا لها.
Mar 10, 2015 Bader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabic, in-my-library
كتاب ممتع وموجز محيط بجوانب عدة من تاريخ الجنون وما لحقه. بحث في تاريخ الطب العقلي والأسماء التي ارتبطت به سواء كانت مصحات سيئة الذكر أو أطباء أخلاقيين شجعان. أعجبني أن الموجز احتوى على الجميل كما السيء في تاريخ الجنون.
May 07, 2013 Ricardo rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Albeit biased towards the scientific and positivistic argument, this is a very good introductory book to the history of madness and psychiatry. Very useful case studies and bibliography.
فتحي سرور
موضوع الكتاب مثير لكن اسلوبه ممل،ممل حتى بالنسبة لهواة القراءة العلمية-مثلي.
Daniel Watts
A short pocket size volume of just over 200 pages dealing with various aspects of Insanity as they were throughout history. Despite describing itself as ‘a brief history’ it only deals with madness in Western culture and society (especially in Britain) and is more of a history of science than a social history with the bulk of book concerned with theories of madness and how the mad have been treated and perceived through past. Unsurprisingly therefore this is a book which strongly concentrates it ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Tharwat rated it really liked it
عرض كتاب
موجز تاريخ الجنون لروي بورتر

اسم الكتاب: موجز تاريخ الجنون.

العنوان بالإنجليزية: Madness: abrief history.

المؤلف: روي بورتر.

ترجمة: ناصر مصطفى أبو الهيجاء.

مراجعة: د. أحمد خريس.

سنة النشر: 1433هـ/2012م.

دار النشر: هيئة أبو ظبي للثقافة والتراث.

الطبعة: الأولى.

صفحات الكتاب: 258.

ما هو الجنون؟! وما هو تعريفه؟ هل للجنون عوارِض مميِّزة يستحِقُّ بها أن نطلِق لقبَ "مجنون" على إنسانٍ ما؟ وما علاقة الطب العقلي الحديث بالجنون وعلاجاته؟ وهل الطب العقلي حقيقة أم عُرْف أم وَهْم؟ هل صحيح قول "بولونيوس
Jun 28, 2014 hayatem rated it it was amazing
Shelves: أخرى
كتاب جميل يعطي رؤية مختصرة عن المرض العقلي وتطور تاريخه من حيث تعاطي المجتمع والطب له في نواحيه الأخلاقية والعلاجية. من سبق له قراءة كتاب "تاريخ الجنون في العصر الكلاسيكي " ل-ميشيل فوكو سيرى في بعض الفصول تشابه كبير الى حدٍ ما في الطرح ولكن بشكلٍ موجز ومختصر. ولا بد أن أشير الى اختلاف المؤرخ البريطاني روي بورتر مع ميشيل فوكو حول رؤيته لعزل المريض العقلي واحتجازه، حيث كان يسمي دار العزل " بالسجن الكبير " . والاختلاف أغلبه تاريخي إحصائي من حيث متى بدأت الدولة عزل المريض العقلي؟ ( التوقيت) وعدد دور ...more
Mar 13, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it
I liked it. I really did. It is brief, concise, not too academic, the language is simple and easy going, while at the same time he goes over all the important names, developments, and milestones of the history of psychiatry. It helped me ground certain concept and I learned a lot of important shifts and turns in the history of psychiatry.

I also liked Porter's approach, he doesn't sound to be trying to convince you with the validity of psychiatry, and he doesn't sound very convinced with psychiat
Jul 16, 2016 Sofie rated it really liked it
A very informative look into the history of madness and psychiatry as a field. It is interesting to see how many of our ideas of mental illness can trace their roots back years - decades, centuries and even millenia!

The only thing keeping it from a 5 star-rating is that it feels a little too superficial - as if there are still depths to be plundered on the subject. At the length it is, though, it is easy to get through, even for the lay person.

I would definitely recommend this for a read.
Jason Rosenstock
Sep 13, 2016 Jason Rosenstock rated it really liked it
My goodness, Porter writes well! His mastery of the subject matter is obvious, and I enjoyed his tour of the key threads of the history of psychiatry: why people are ill, how we care for them, and what their experiences have been. All the high points are covered in this slim book, a great starting point or summary of the field, particularly useful for trainees/learners.
شادي  عبد العزيز
تجربة بالغة السوء

الترجمة لها عيوبها الواضحة في الكتاب دا ..

للأسف وضحت عدم خبرة المترجم بمجال الترجمة واختياره لألفاظ في غير محلها ومناسبتها وعدم توحيد المصطلحات حتى في نفس الصفحة ..

كان ممكن يكون الموضوع أسهل لو المترجم ترك المصطلحات الأجنبية بين قوسين للمهتم أو الخبير بنفس الموضوع .. وإن كنت بعتبر دا مجرد اقتراح
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Roy's books cover several fields: the history of geology, London, 18th-Century British ideas and society, medicine, madness, quackery, patients and practitioners, literature and art, on which subjects (and others) he published over 200 books are articles.

List of works can be found @ wikipedia ( )
More about Roy Porter...

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“Every age gets the lunatics it deserves.” 2 likes
“Not least, the asylum idea reflected the long-term cultural shift from religion to scientific secularism. In traditional Christendom, it was the distinction between believers and heretics, saints and sinners, which had been crucial—that between the sane and the crazy had counted for little. This changed, and the great divide, since the ‘age of reason’, became that between the rational and the rest, demarcated and enforced at bottom by the asylum walls. The keys of St Peter had been replaced by the keys of psychiatry.” 2 likes
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