‘Am I Mad?’ : The Windham Case and Victorian Resistance to Psychiatry

Degerman, Dan (2019) ‘Am I Mad?’ : The Windham Case and Victorian Resistance to Psychiatry. History of Psychiatry, 30 (4). pp. 457-468. ISSN 0957-154X

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This article revisits the notorious trial of William Windham, a wealthy young man accused of lunacy. The trial in 1861-2 saw the country's foremost experts on psychological medicine very publicly debate the concepts, symptoms and diagnosis of insanity. I begin by surveying the trial and the testimonies of medical experts. Their disparate assessments of Windham evoked heated reactions in the press and Parliament; these reactions are the focus of the second section. I then proceed to examine criticism of psychiatry in the newspapers more generally in the 1860s, outlining the political resistance to psychiatry and the responses of some leading psychiatrists. In conclusion, I consider what this says about the politics of medicalization at the time.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
History of Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anti-psychiatryexpert testimonyinsanitylawmedicalizationnewspapers19th centurypsychiatry and mental health ??
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Deposited On:
08 Jan 2019 15:15
Last Modified:
09 Jul 2024 23:48