Madness by Andrew Scull
A Very Short Introduction

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Madness is something that frightens and fascinates us all. It is a word with which we are universally familiar, and a condition that haunts the human imagination. Through the centuries, in poetry and in prose, in drama and in the visual arts, its depredations are on display for all to see. A whole industry has grown up, devoted to its management and suppression. Madness profoundly disturbs our common sense assumptions; threatens the social order, both symbolically and
practically; creates almost unbearable disruptions in the texture of daily living; and turns our experience and our expectations upside down. Lunacy, insanity, psychosis, mental illness - whatever term we prefer, its referents are disturbances of reason, the passions, and human action that frighten, create
chaos, and yet sometimes amuse; that mark a gulf between the common sense reality most of us embrace, and the discordant version some humans appear to experience.

Social responses to madness, our interpretations of what madness is, and our notions of what is to be done about it have varied remarkably over the centuries. In this Very Short Introduction, Andrew Scull provides a provocative and entertaining examination of the social, cultural, medical, and artistic responses to mental disturbance across more than two millennia, concluding with some observations on the contemporary accounts of mental illness.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

About Andrew Scull

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Andrew Scull received his B.A. from Oxford University, and his Ph.D. from Princeton. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Princeton prior to coming to UCSD. His books include Museums of Madness; Decarceration; Madhouses, Mad-Doctors, and Madmen; Durkheim and the Law (with Steven Lukes); Social Control and the State (with Stanley Cohen); Social Order/Mental Disorder; The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain, 1700-1900; and Masters of Bedlam.
Published August 25, 2011 by OUP Oxford. 152 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Madness

City Book Review

Andrew Scull walks us through not only the different views of mental illness through the centuries, but through our different attitudes in treatment, from squirreling someone away in a castle garret to today when we often shove patients out of the hospital door with a jug of Big Pharma in their h...

Apr 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Madness: A Very Short Introdu...

Reviews in History

Anne Borsay has written a characteristically thoughtful and fair-minded review of Insanity, Institutions and Society which provides us with a perceptive reading of the essays and succeeds in raising important points for discussion.

| Read Full Review of Madness: A Very Short Introdu...

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