Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as 'Bedlam', is a unique institution. Now 750 years old, it has been continuously involved in the care of the mentally ill in London since at least the 1400s. This history re-evaluates its importance.
Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as "Bedlam", is a unique institution. Now seven hundred and fifty years old, it has been continuously involved in the care of the mentally ill in London since at least the 1400s. As such it has a strong claim to be the oldest foundation in Europe with an unbroken history of sheltering and treating the mentally disturbed. During this time, Bethlem has transcended locality to become not only a national and international institution, but in many ways, a cultural and literary myth. The History of Bethlem is a scholarly history of this key establishment by distinguished authors, including Asa Briggs and Roy Porter. Based upon extensive research of the hospital's archives, the book looks at Bethlem's role within the caring institutions of London and Britain, and provides a long overdue re-evaluation of its place in the history of psychiatry.
Jonathan Andrews is Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University. His publications include "The History of Bethlem "(1997) and ""They're in the Trade of Lunacy" "(1998). Andrew Scull, author of "Social Order/ Mental Disorder "(California, 1989; 1992) and "The Most Solitary of Afflictions "(1993), among other books, is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. They are coauthors of "Undertaker of the Mind "(California, 2001), a wide-ranging study of the place of madness in eighteenth-century culture and society, seen through the prism of John M
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