Out of his mind

Masculinity and mental illness in Victorian Britain

By Amy Milne-Smith

Out of his mind
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526155030
  • Publish Date: Mar 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526178855
  • Publish Date: May 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526155047
  • Publish Date: Apr 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5504-7
    • Published Date: April 2022
    • Series: Gender in History


    Out of His Mind interrogates how Victorians made sense of the madman as both a social reality and a cultural representation. Even at the height of enthusiasm for the curative powers of nineteenth-century psychiatry, to be certified as a lunatic meant a loss of one's freedom and in many ways one's identify. Because men had the most power and authority in Victorian Britain, this also meant they had the most to lose. The madman was often a marginal figure, confined in private homes, hospitals, and asylums. Yet as a cultural phenomenon he loomed large, tapping into broader social anxieties about respectability, masculine self-control, and fears of degeneration. Using a wealth of case notes, press accounts, literature, medical and government reports, this text provides a rich window into public understandings and personal experiences of men's insanity.


    'An original contribution to our understanding of how gender, and especially masculinity, impacted the experience and representation of madness in Victorian Britain.'
    Katie Barclay, The American Historical Review

    'Out of His Mind
    builds upon and strengthens work already done in the history of science to destabilise gendered notions of scientific and medical authority.'
    Heather Ellis, Women's History Review

    Amy Milne-Smith makes an important contribution to historical understandings of the multi-dimensional interactions between gender and mental health, encompassing the medical, social, attitudinal and cultural.'
    Leonard Smith, Cultural and Social History


    Introduction: Madmen in the attic?
    1 Men in care: the asylum
    2 Men in the community: homecare, doctor's care, and travellers
    3 Personal shame: failures of morality and the will
    4 Madmen out of the attic: reputation, rage, and liberty
    5 Media panics: stories of violence, danger, and men out of control
    6 Degeneration and madness: inheritance, neurasthenia, criminals, and GPI


    Amy Milne-Smith is Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University

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