Madmen: A Social History of Madhouses, Mad-doctors & Lunatics
What was it like to be insane in the Georgian England of Mary Wollstonecraft and Coleridge? Indeed, how was the most famous mad person of the century—Shelley’s “old, mad, blind, despised king” George III—treated before his final descent into insanity in 1808? The best-selling popular historian, Roy Porter, looks at the bizarre and savage practices used by doctors for treating those afflicted by manias, ranging from huge doses of opium, blood-letting, and cold water immersion to beatings, confinement in cages, and blistering. The author also reveals how Bethlem—the London asylum created to care for the mentally sick of the capital—was riddled with sadism and embezzlement, and if that wasn’t dehumanizing enough, ogling sightseers were permitted entry—for a fee of course.
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