+612 9045 4394
 
CHECKOUT
Theaters of Madness : Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture - Benjamin Reiss

Theaters of Madness

Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture

Paperback Published: 1st July 2008
ISBN: 9780226709642
Number Of Pages: 240

Share This Book:

Paperback

RRP $57.99
$48.80
16%
OFF
Ships in 4 to 6 business days

In the mid-1800s, a utopian movement to rehabilitate the insane resulted in a wave of publicly funded asylums--many of which became unexpected centers of cultural activity. Housed in magnificent structures with lush grounds, patients participated in theatrical programs, debating societies, literary journals, schools, and religious services. "Theaters of Madness" explores both the culture these rich offerings fomented and the asylum's place in the fabric of nineteenth-century life, reanimating a time when the treatment of the insane was a central topic in debates over democracy, freedom, and modernity. Benjamin Reiss explores the creative lives of patients and the cultural demands of their doctors. Their frequently clashing views turned practically all of American culture--from blackface minstrel shows to the works of William Shakespeare--into a battlefield in the war on insanity. Reiss also shows how asylums touched the lives and shaped the writing of key figures, such as Emerson and Poe, who viewed the system alternately as the fulfillment of a democratic ideal and as a kind of medical enslavement. Without neglecting this troubling contradiction, "Theaters of Madness" prompts us to reflect on what our society can learn from a generation that urgently and creatively tried to solve the problem of mental illness.

"Benjamin Reiss has in important and novel ways successfully linked the history of the mental hospital to crucial developments in American culture. No one before has made so many fascinating connections between the idea and practice of the asylum and the intellectual production of the antebellum era. Both students of asylums and students of culture will find "Theaters of Madness" provocative and illuminating."--David J. Rothman, Columbia University

--David J. Rothman, Columbia University
""Theaters of Madness" captures the 'texture of a time' and persuasively chronicles the centrality of insanity to the era's key public debates about democracy, freedom and enslavement, and modernization. In Benjamin Reiss's hands, the asylum becomes both an arena for debating cultural assumptions and beliefs and an institution that itself changes the social order. This is a deeply engaging study of a fascinating topic."--Priscilla Wald, Duke University

--Priscilla Wald, Duke University
Benjamin Reiss has in important and novel ways successfully linked the history of the mental hospital to crucial developments in American culture. No one before has made so many fascinating connections between the idea and practice of the asylum and the intellectual production of the antebellum era. Both students of asylums and students of culture will find "Theaters of Madness" provocative and illuminating. David J. Rothman, Columbia University
--David J. Rothman, Columbia University"
"Theaters of Madness" captures the texture of a time and persuasively chronicles the centrality of insanity to the era s key public debates about democracy, freedom and enslavement, and modernization. In Benjamin Reiss s hands, the asylum becomes both an arena for debating cultural assumptions and beliefs and an institution that itself changes the social order. This is a deeply engaging study of a fascinating topic. Priscilla Wald, Duke University
--Priscilla Wald, Duke University"

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Sanative Culturep. 1
Brothers and Sisters of Asylumia: Literary Life in the New York State Lunatic Asylump. 23
Saneface Minstrelsy: Blacking Up in the Asylump. 51
Bardolatry in Bedlam: Shakespeare and Early Psychiatryp. 79
Emerson's Close Encounters with Madnessp. 103
What's the Point of a Revolution?: Edgar Allan Poe and the Origins of the Asylump. 143
Out of the Attic: Gender, Captivity, and Asylum Exposesp. 169
Epilogue: Echoesp. 191
Notesp. 199
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226709642
ISBN-10: 0226709647
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 1st July 2008
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.36