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date: 30 November 2021

p. 202. Madness in chainslocked

p. 202. Madness in chainslocked

  • Andrew Scull


According to ‘Madness in chains’, madness acquired a much greater cultural salience between the 17th and early 19th centuries. A fascination with madness is visible everywhere — in plays such as King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth; in ballads; in the pages of Don Quixote and the pioneering novels of 18th-century England; in political pamphlets; in architecture and sculpture; in painting and in the engravings of Hogarth and Gilroy. Meanwhile, anatomists were beginning to investigate the brain and the nervous system, whose ‘animal spirits’, they now believed, commanded, and controlled the body. Reflections on madness by philosophers such as Locke impacted the care and treatment of the insane.

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