Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 30, 1983 - Medical - 323 pages
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Mystical Bedlam explores the social history of insanity of early seventeenth-century England by means of a detailed analysis of the records of Richard Napier, a clergyman and astrological physician, who treated over 2000 mentally disturbed patients between 1597 and 1634. Napier's clients were drawn from every social rank and his therapeutic techniques included all the types of psychological healing practised at the time. His vivid descriptions of his clients' afflictions and complaints illuminate the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people. This book goes beyond simply analysing mental disorder in a seventeenth-century astrological and medical practice. It reveals contemporary attitudes towards family life, describes the appeal of witchcraft and demonology to ordinary villagers, and explains the social and intellectual basis for the eclectic blend of scientific, magical, and religious therapies practised before the English Revolution. Not only is it a contribution to the history of medicine but also a survey of some of the darkest regions of the mental world of the English people of the seventeenth century.
  

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The books a bag of shite

Contents

A healer and his patients
13
Stress anxiety and family life
72
Popular stereotypes of insanity
112
Psychological healing
173
Age and sex of Napiers mentally disturbed
233
Stresses reported by Napiers disturbed patients
239
Cross tabulations of psychological symptoms
246
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About the author (1983)

Muriel C. McClendon is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of "The Quiet Reformation: Magistrates and the Emergence of Protestantism in Tudor Norwich" (Stanford, 1999). Joseph P. Ward teaches history at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of "Metropolitan Communities: Trade Guilds, Identity, and Change in Early Modern England" (Stanford, 1997). Michael MacDonald is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. His most recent book is "Witchcraft and Hysteria in Elizabethan England" (editor).

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