, because the predictions of such as commonly set out the vulgare Prognostications oft-times, take not effect: I say, these men declare them selves very ignorant in naturall Philosophie, and are convict by experience and ensample of such things, as daily fal out, by vertue of the heavenly influences. 48
Pont drew a distinction between these vulgar practitioners and men learned in the art: ‘many evident signes are founde in the motiones, configurations, and interchangeings of the courses of the heavenly light, where by men, who are expert in divine science of
Mesmerism, celebrity practitioners and the schism of 1842–3
children to phrenological examination’ is arguably an anachronistic one for this late period in the history of the system.
Possibly contemplating a revival of the social utility of phrenology, Stead was, on this occasion, significantly adrift of the tide of the public opinion which his popular – rather than niche – journals so often and expertly captured.
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, it was surely evident that both the perception and the nature of phrenology in Britain had undergone
treatment before and after arrival included living within the home, travel, or private care. While many experts pointed to the asylum as the single point of care, medical authorities in their practice and in broader works acknowledged alternative methods according to circumstances. While reading against the grain of the archive can be a useful way to trace the voices of the mad, it is also important to pay attention to how the official archive is constructed, and the power relations it embodies.
The most in-depth stories
Stories of violence, danger, and men out of control
lunacy doctors who believed they were the only experts who could see past such machinations.
This idea reinforced the need to be sceptical of those who seemed to be sane and could even fool legal authorities.
Such stories cast doubt on whether any man could truly recover from insanity.
Sensational stories of violence could help reinforce the idea that even the smallest delay in institutionalizing the insane could lead to devastating results
nineteenth century. For men such as Sala, the spectre of madness was a truly terrifying prospect. While newly built asylums popped up across Britain, and specialist doctors investigated the breadth and width of lunacy, the reality was that experts had very few solutions for those who suffered a mental breakdown. And those solutions that were offered, even at the height of optimism about potential cures, always entailed a serious deprivation of liberty and autonomy. Men's authority in society was rooted in rule over dependants within their household and beyond; without
the nineteenth century. And even among experts, the tropes of Victorian psychiatry were repeated; in the early twentieth century, talks at the Medico-Legal society still heralded a focus on early treatment and prevention as key to success.
This had been the beating heart of Victorian psychiatric thinking. There is no watershed moment in early twentieth-century psychiatry that ends Victorian ways of thinking, and patients admitted in the nineteenth century continued as patients well into the twentieth century. The
diagnosis, the fact of his certification and detainment could be galling.
And those who believed they had been coerced, tricked, or were the victim of a conspiracy felt the sting all the more. They lost control of themselves, of their families, of their wealth and property, and, essentially, they lost the right to do as they pleased. Treatment without consent was common practice throughout the nineteenth century, and most believed the mad needed to be cared for by medical experts. And yet, from the 1860s onwards, there
comprehensible to modern readers by presenting them as de facto Europeans, a contrivance that inadvertently abetted contemporary prejudices against pagans and non-Europeans. Nevertheless, the Copland and ‘Mummius’ poems both take issue with Eurocentrism and the authority of scientists, for which respect had evidently begun to wane by 1834.
Over a decade later, Poe employed the same technological attributions and expressed the same scepticism about experts in his mummy tale.
One more vociferous Egyptian in
the potential inheritance of insanity from the outset, and asylums tracked family history along with other demographic data. Such ideas were not limited to medical experts but were also baked into the popular culture of the time. While non-medical dialogues did not always contain the most up-to-date or comprehensive reflections of medical thinking, there was a clear general familiarity with issues of inheritance and disease on the part of the general population. Such ideas were the bedrock of fears that took on a renewed urgency in the 1880s when they were linked to
Medical and ethics writing of death and transplantation
within the profession, Margaret Lock notes that ‘the possibility of actual mistakes … cannot be ruled out’. 52
Challenges are also sometimes posed to the diagnostic categories themselves. Michael Nair-Collins, Sydney Green, and Angelina Sutin argue that ‘There is legitimate scientific dispute among experts as to whether “brain dead” donors are truly dead, and this information is not routinely disclosed’. 53 At the time of writing there continues to be no international consensus on the specific protocols or legal terminology for determination of neurological death