By Jonathan Andrews
This publication is a full of life observation at the eighteenth-century mad-business, its practitioners, its sufferers (or "customers"), and its consumers, considered in the course of the distinctive lens of the personal case ebook stored by means of the main well-known mad-doctor in Augustan England, Dr. John Monro (1715-1791). Monro's case publication, comprising the doctor's jottings on sufferers he observed during his inner most practice--patients drawn from a superb number of social strata--offers a unprecedented window into the subterranean global of the mad-trade in eighteenth-century London.The quantity concludes with an entire variation of the case booklet itself, transcribed in complete with editorial annotations by way of the authors. within the fragmented tales Monro's case booklet offers, Andrews and Scull discover a poignant underworld of human mental misery, a few of it unusual and a few particularly everyday. They position those "cases" in a true international the place John Monro and othersuccessful medical professionals have been practising, to not say inventing, the prognosis and therapy of insanity.
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Extra resources for Customers and Patrons of the Mad-Trade: The Management of Lunacy in Eighteenth-Century London, With the Complete Text of John Monro's 1766 Case Book
The prevalence of endogamy was perhaps nowhere more marked than in the mad-doctoring trade, where we can point to multigenerational practitioners besides the Monro dynasty, such as the Mason-Cox family, associated with Fishponds Asylum and Cox’s swinging chair;13 the Fox family, who owned Brislington House throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth;14 the Willises, headed by the infamous “Dr. Duplicate,” Francis Willis, the provincial mountebank who “cured” the mad King George;15 and the Newingtons of Ticehurst, proprietors for more than a century of the English aristocracy’s favorite madhouse16 — to cite only some prominent examples.
MacCune suggests that this pattern of referrals probably had been established in the previous generation. 29 Monro’s case book thus allows substantial access not only to the identities of the mad-doctor’s customers, but also to the various avenues of referral and patronage by which the maddoctor went about acquiring his patients. THE MONROS AND THE CONTEMPORARY ART WORLD One of Monro’s sources of patients is at first sight somewhat unusual and surprising. A fair number of those Monro saw had interesting connections with the eighteenth-century art world, a reflection, as we shall see, of an interest in the fine arts that the aspiring mad-doctor had begun to cultivate while a student at Oxford, and of the extent to which John (and subsequently, to an even greater extent, his son Thomas) cultivated ties with members of London’s artistic community.
Despite the patently private nature of Monro’s pocket-size notebook, his neat handwriting indicates that it was very much intended to be read and re-read by the doctor himself and possibly by intimates in his business. It seems likely that Monro adopted the same approach to note-taking in other case books completed over the years of his practice. However, the extent to which this was so, and the degree to which Monro adapted his craft as time went on, must remain a matter of conjecture in the absence of any other surviving case books.