Mental Health in Historical Perspective
cover

Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity in Victorian Society

Caterham Asylum, 1867–1911

Authors: Eastoe, Stef

  • Explores the understudied histories of asylum patients identified as incurably insane and how society, government and the medical profession responded to this group
  • Focuses on the history of Caterham, England’s first state imbecile asylum, unlike other lunatic asylums where so-called curable patients were treated
  • Challenges the notion of incurability and chronicity as sources of shame and stigma within Victorian and Edwardian economies of welfare
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eBook 53,54 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: February 8, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-27335-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover 67,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • Due: February 8, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-27334-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

This book explores the understudied history of the so-called ‘incurables’ in the Victorian period, the people identified as idiots, imbeciles and the weak-minded, as opposed to those thought to have curable conditions. It focuses on Caterham, England’s first state imbecile asylum, and analyses its founding, purpose, character, and most importantly, its residents, innovatively recreating the biographies of these people. Created to relieve pressure on London’s overcrowded workhouses, Caterham opened in September 1870. It was originally intended as a long-stay institution for the chronic and incurable insane paupers of the metropolis, more commonly referred to as idiots and imbeciles. This purpose instantly differentiates Caterham from the more familiar, and more researched, lunatic asylums, which were predicated on the notion of cure and restoration of the senses. Indeed Caterham, built following the welfare and sanitary reforms of the late 1860s, was an important feature of the Victorian institutional landscape, and it represented a shift in social, medical and political responsibility towards the care and management of idiot and imbecile paupers.

About the authors

Stef Eastoe is a social and cultural historian, who has taught courses on the social history of medicine at several British universities. She specializes in the history of idiocy, welfare, and Victorian institutions, and has had work published in Journal of Victorian Culture and Landscape Research.  

Buy this book

eBook 53,54 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: February 8, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-27335-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover 67,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • Due: February 8, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-27334-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity in Victorian Society
Book Subtitle
Caterham Asylum, 1867–1911
Authors
Series Title
Mental Health in Historical Perspective
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-27335-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-27335-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-27334-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 212
Number of Illustrations
14 b/w illustrations
Topics