Originally published in 1985 by The Tavistock Press, this three-volume set covers the history of British and continental European madness and psychiatry from the Renaissance through to Freud. The long time-span covered affords the reader views of the changing understanding of madness and the resultant policies towards it in the light of long-term developments such as secularization and industrialization.
Volume 1 examines theories of madness and its treatment, both those of laymen and those of the emergent psychiatric profession, as well as looking at the experiences of mad people themselves.
Volume 2 examines the emergence of the modern lunatic asylum and judges how far it lived up to the hopes of the nineteenth century reformers. Essays on such subjects as psychiatry in the courtroom and the treatment of First World War shellshock victims dissect the historical dimensions of current notions of psychiatry as a means of social control.
Volume 3 brings together essays on nineteenth century psychiatry on various themes ranging from the architecture of asylums to social policy, from therapeutics to professionalization. As well as British, aspects of French, Italian, American and Danish psychiatry are also analysed.