"These essays are valuable for the complexities they uncover as they ground our previously simplistic interpretation of Victorian psychiatric practice in reality and for the retrospective insight they bring to consideration of the profession's problems today."—A. B. Bookman's WeeklyThe Victorian Age saw the transformation of the madhouse into the asylum into the mental hospital; of the mad-doctor into the alienist into the psychiatrist; and of the madman (and madwoman) into the mental patient. In Andrew Scull's edited collection Madhouses, Mad-Doctors, and Madmen, contributors' essays offer a historical analysis of the issues that continue to plague the psychiatric profession today. Topics covered include the debate over the effectiveness of institutional or community treatment, the boundary between insanity and criminal responsibility, the implementation of commitment laws, and the differences in defining and treating mental illness based on the gender of the patient.
Andrew Scull is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego.