Out of his mind

Masculinity and mental illness in Victorian Britain

Author: Amy Milne-Smith

Out of his Mind is a study of the consequences of a diagnosis of insanity for men, their families, their friends, and the culture at large.

Studying the madman allows for an exploration of the cultural expectations of male behaviour, how men responded to those norms in their lived experiences, and what defined the bare minimums of acceptable male behaviour. Men’s authority in society was rooted in control over dependants within their household and beyond; without that power, the foundation of their manhood was in question. As such, madness touched on a key tenet of nineteenth-century masculinity: control. Building on accounts from sufferers, doctors, government officials, journalists, and novelists, Out of his Mind offers insight into the shifting anxieties surrounding men in mental distress. Exploring everything from wrongful confinement panics, to cultures of shame and stigma, to fears of degeneration, this study makes an important contribution to histories of gender and medicine.

This text puts the madman at the centre of the history of Victorian masculinity and helps us better understand the stigma of men’s mental illness that continues to this day.

Abstract only
Log-in for full text

    • Full book download (HTML)
    • Full book download (PDF with hyperlinks)
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 330 330 69
Full Text Views 119 119 24
PDF Downloads 83 83 26