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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Hale, N. (1996). Madness In America. Cultural And Medical Perceptions Of Mental Illness Before 1914. By Lynn Gamwell and Nancy Tomes. Syracuse, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995, 182 pp., $39.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1001-1002.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1001-1002

Madness In America. Cultural And Medical Perceptions Of Mental Illness Before 1914. By Lynn Gamwell and Nancy Tomes. Syracuse, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995, 182 pp., $39.95.

Review by:
Nathan Hale

This richly illustrated survey of American medical and cultural views of mental illness spans the years from the 17th century to 1914 and the early impact of the new psychiatry of Freud and Adolf Meyer. The illustrations, from a remarkable variety of sources, many of them published together for the first time, provide much of the excitement and fascination of this elegantly produced volume, which inaugurates a new Cornell series in the history of psychiatry. There are photographs of patient art from the 18th and 19th centuries, of asylum dances, of nurses doing improving exercises at the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, of Benjamin West's monumental painting, Christ Healing the Sick, of hypnotists and their subjects as well as advertisements for headache pills and phrenological apparatus. The very competent text pays considerable attention to the concerns of women, to racial and sexual issues, and to patients' perceptions of their treatment. Sometimes present-day indignation over past injustices, sexual or racial, overtakes the narrative. Then, there is an obscure argument about the “nonverbal” characteristics of modern art and the suggestion that attention to semiotics has swept the psychoanalytic field. But these are minor flaws in an otherwise compact and well-argued text. Freud's innovations in giving “a precise meaning to psychological cause and effect” are sympathetically placed in the context of the problems of somatic psychiatry toward the close of the 19th century.

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