Madness in Civilization: The Cultural History of Insanity
The loss of reason, a sense of alienation from the commonsense world we all like to imagine we inhabit, the shattering emotional turmoil that seizes hold and won’t let go—these are some of the traits we associate with madness. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense of it through religion or the...more
Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!"
-- King Lear
Madness in Civilization is simply one of the most stunning books I've ever read.
At various points in history, insanity, as depicted in Scull's book, has been deemed a divine punishment, a divine inspiration, a diabolical possession, an imbalance of humors, an honorable disease of the wealthy and super-intelligent, a hidden infection, a symptom of generational degeneracy, wartime "cowardice" deserving ...more
The book is full of fascinating stories of people and doctors who developed psychiatry. Treatments vary from the sadistic to the ingenious and are an eye opener to the medical profession.
I thoroughly ...more
What I did not expect was for Madness to be as lovely as it is, with its almost-Saul-Bass cover ...more
It feels hypocritical to say this because I plan on using parts of this when I teach Hamlet next year; but I was disappointed in this book. It is certainly not BAD. I think the issue is that it’s been sitting on my shelf for so long, and I had such high expectations for it. Schull spends a lot of time talking here about the ways the mad we’re treated, depicted, housed, and defined. And those are all very interesting perspectives. The two ...more
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
A story about Frank Mesmer is a beguiling one, the one on lobotomy once hailed as a revolutionary advancement - despicable.
The one critique I would have is the perhaps lacking aspect of society, the connection between society. I understand that this is probably quite futile to attempt, since talking about "society" is not really possible, just as talking about the "mind" is quite hard unless you freeze time and limit inputs.
As the title state though, the book was a bit heavy one the mind side of things I found. Madness as ...more
posted by David Usharauli