This Way Madness Lies by Mike Jay

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

The book does much to counter the stigma of mental illness by humanising the patients, and denouncing the lurid media coverage focused on exceptional stories of violent acts perpetrated by mentally ill people.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A compelling and evocatively illustrated exploration of the evolution of the asylum, and its role in society over the course of four centuries

This Way Madness Lies is a thought-provoking exploration of the history of madness and its treatment as seen through the lens of its proverbial home: Bethlem Royal Hospital, London, popularly known as Bedlam. The book charts the evolution of the asylum through four incarnations: the eighteenth-century madhouse, the nineteenth century asylum, the twentieth-century mental hospital, and the post-asylum modern day, when mental health has become the concern of the wider community. The book reveals the role that the history of madness and its treatment has played in creating the landscape of the asylum, in all its iterations.

Moving and sometimes provocative illustrations sourced from the Wellcome Collection's extensive archives and the Bethlem Royal Hospital's archive highlight the trajectory of each successive era of institution: founded in the optimistic spirit of humanitarian reform but eventually dismantled amid accusations of cruelty and neglect. Each chapter concludes with a selection of revealing and captivating artwork created by some of the inmates of the institutions of that era.

This Way Madness Lies highlights fundamental questions that remain relevant and unresolved: What lies at the root of mental illness? Should sufferers be segregated from society or integrated more fully? And in today’s post-asylum society, what does the future hold for a world beyond Bedlam?

350+ illustrations in color and black-and-white
 

About Mike Jay

See more books from this Author
Mike Jay is a leading specialist in the study of drugs across history and cultures. The author of Artificial Paradises, Emperors of Dreams, and The Atmosphere of Heaven, his critical writing on drugs has appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The International Journal of Drug Policy. He sits on the editorial board of the addiction journal Drugs and Alcohol Today and on the board of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. He lives in England.
 
Published October 25, 2016 by Thames & Hudson. 256 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for This Way Madness Lies
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Mcgrath on Oct 25 2016

The book’s wealth of artwork has been sumptuously reproduced. Here are Géricault’s five lunatics of the Salpêtrière Hospital and the first eight plates of Hogarth’s “A Rake’s Progress.” Among the works created by the mentally ill are two of Richard Dadd’s extraordinary paintings...

Read Full Review of This Way Madness Lies | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Hall on Nov 11 2016

The book does much to counter the stigma of mental illness by humanising the patients, and denouncing the lurid media coverage focused on exceptional stories of violent acts perpetrated by mentally ill people.

Read Full Review of This Way Madness Lies | See more reviews from Guardian

Rate this book!

Add Review