Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity in Victorian Society

  • Stef Eastoe
€ 52,58
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This book explores the understudied history of the so-called 'incurables' in the Victorian period, the people identified as idiots, imbeciles and the weak-minded, as opposed to those thought to have curable conditions. It focuses on Caterham, England's first state imbecile asylum, and analyses its founding, purpose, character, and most importantly, its residents, innovatively recreating the biographies of these people. Created to relieve pressure on London's overcrowded workhouses, Caterham opened in September 1870. It was originally intended as a long-stay institution for the chronic and incurable insane paupers of the metropolis, more commonly referred to as idiots and imbeciles. This purpose instantly differentiates Caterham from the more familiar, and more researched, lunatic asylums, which were predicated on the notion of cure and restoration of the senses. Indeed Caterham, built following the welfare and sanitary reforms of the late 1860s, was an important feature of the Victorian institutional landscape, and it represented a shift in social, medical and political responsibility towards the care and management of idiot and imbecile paupers.
Chapter 1: Introduction and the Roots of Caterham.- Chapter 2: Creating Caterham.- Chapter 3: Populating Caterham.- Chapter 4: Experiencing Caterham.- Chapter 5: Visualising Idiocy, Visualising Caterham.- Chapter 6: Geographies of Idiocy.- Chapter 7: Conclusion.-
"Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity in Victorian Society starts with a stated goal to challenge works that emphasize narratives of repression and violence in the asylum. This is grounded in a both a desire to find the complexity of the patient experience and in the fact that the records do not record much explicit abuse at Caterham." (Amy Milne-Smith, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 60 (2), April, 2021) "This is a book for multiple audiences-those interested in social and institution history as well as history of psychiatry and related institutions. But more than anything else, it is a book for practitioners about the institutionalization (or not) of mental conditions-a book for reflection on the care provided to subjects with the great dilemma of the choice between institutionalization or insertion in life." (Alain Touwaide, Doody's Book Reviews, August 21, 2020)
Uitgavejaar 2021
ISBN 9783030273378
Serie Mental Health in Historical Perspective
Verschijningsdatum 6 mrt. 2021
Omvang 212
Editie 1st ed. 2020
Auteur(s) Stef Eastoe
Bindwijze Paperback
Taal Engels
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