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Stoddart, W.H. (1928). Mental Disorders: By Hubert J. Norman, M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.). (E. & S. Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1928. Pp. 443 + xxx. Price 14 s.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:267-268.
(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:267-268
Mental Disorders: By Hubert J. Norman, M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.). (E. & S. Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1928. Pp. 443 + xxx. Price 14 s.
Review by: W. H.B. Stoddart
Dr. Norman is by instinct a littérateur. Hence his book is a model of scholarly style adorned with gems from the great authors of bygone days, his 'Historical Survey' of lunacy from Biblical days to 1838 is as excellent as could be within the compass of fourteen pages, and his 'Clinical Examples in Life and Literature' (i.e. historical characters who exhibited mental disorder) must be nearly complete.
We regret to find, however, that the rest of the book is an anachronism and compiled after the fashion of those popular text-books by Savage and Clouston towards the end of the last century before the work of Kraepelin and Freud had become known in this country. The author cannot adopt the modern 'revolutionary attitude towards the past and towards the great men who are its representatives'. Hence the classification and descriptions appear confused to a reader of to-day.
For example: Mania, Melancholia and Manic-Depressive Insanity are three separate diseases, hallucinations occur in (presumably uncomplicated) Melancholia, while confusion and loss of memory are symptoms of both mania and melancholia; yet this is—alas!—a 'Handbook for Students', poor souls.
There is a chapter of twenty pages on the 'Pathology of Mental Disorder'. Seven of these pages are about the cerebrospinal fluid, five on physical stigmata of degeneration and the rest on the morbid anatomy of Dementia Præcox, General Paralysis, Alcoholism (meaning chronic poisoning by alcohol), Epilepsy, Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Tumour and Encephalitis Lethargica. The fact that there is no morbid anatomy of Neurasthenia, Psychasthenia, Mania, Paranoia, etc.,
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