Madness: A Brief HistoryDe (autor) Roy Porter
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 13 Mar 2003
Drawing upon eyewitness accounts of doctors, writers, artists, and the mad themselves, Roy Porter tells the story of our changing notions of insanity and of the treatments for mental illness that have been employed from antiquity to the present day. Beginning with 5,000-year-old skulls with tiny holes bored in them (to allow demons to escape), through conceptions of madness as an acute phase in the trial of souls, as an imbalance of the humors, as the divine fury of creative genius, or as the malfunctioning of brain chemistry, Porter shows the many ways madness has been perceived and misperceived in every historical period. He takes us on a fascinating round of treatments, ranging from exorcism and therapeutic terror--including immersion in a tub of eels--to the first asylums, shock therapy, the birth of psychoanalysis, and the current use of psychotropic drugs.
Throughout, Madness: A Brief History offers a balanced view, showing both the humane attempts to help the insane as well as the ridiculous and often cruel misunderstanding that have bedeviled our efforts to heal the mind of its myriad afflictions.
Well illustrated and constructed, this is a masterful and moving book written in pellucid prose. Its brevity belies its weight
The most highly-acclaimed and prolific medical historian of this generation. Roy Porter was a well-known and widely respected author of over 80 books, the most recent being the much reviewed Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (Penguin, 2000).He published extensively in the history of psychiatry, including A Social History of Madness (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987; Paperback edition, 1989); The Faber Book of Madness (Faber, 1991; paperback 1993). He was Professor of the Social History of Medicine at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London; and had extensive experience of popular public lecturing, broadcasting, and serious journalism.