Michael Brown
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The asylum revolution
Politics, reform and the demise of medico-gentility
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This chapter demonstrates how the scandal which engulfed the York Lunatic Asylum from 1813 to 1815 constituted a clash between competing notions of social power and public authority. It opens with a brief account of the early years of the York Lunatic Asylum under its first physician, Alexander Hunter. It examines an incident in the late 1780s, when a small group of governors tried unsuccessfully to challenge Hunter's authority. The reform of the Lunatic Asylum was the most visible, and perhaps the most aggressive, example of the subjection of charitable institutions and their medical officers to a lay 'public' authority, but it was not an isolated incident. Events at the Asylum can only be fully understood as constitutive of a much wider transformation in the cultures and politics of early nineteenth-century England.

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Performing medicine

Medical culture and identity in provincial England, c.1760–1850


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