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Books

Back to Bedlam: Patrick Skene Catling on the book that makes madness visible

It turns out that mental illness isn’t a new invention. Andrew Scull’s Madness in Civilization reviewed

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity Andrew Scull

Thames & Hudson, pp.448, £28, ISBN: 9780500252123

Madness is an ancient, evidently inscrutable mystery, often regarded with superstitious fear, yet can provide a refuge from reality. Sometimes, however, the refuge turns out to be a trap. The human brain, beyond even the most rigorous thinker’s continuous control, is equally able to afford exquisite privacy and atrocious chaos.

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