A Very Partial Bibliography of the History of Psychiatry
Edward M. Brown M. D.
1] Bynum, William; Porter, Roy; Shepherd, Michael (editors). The Anatomy of Madness, (Tavistock Publications, 1985-6) This three volume collection of scholarly essays on many topics in the history of psychiatry gives a very good idea of the dimensions of the field and provides a great place to start looking into many particular topics.
2] Scull, Andrew. Madhouses, Mad Doctors and Madmen, (University of Pennsylvania, 1981). Scull, who has often been one of the most virulent critics of psychiatry, managed to put together a remarkably balanced and useful collection, weighted towards nineteenth century Anglo-American topics.
3] Wallace, Edwin IV; Gach, John. History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, (Springer, 2008). This collection, which might break records for the length of time it took to get published [I wrote my contribution in 1984], has a number of fine essays, but some are longer than they needed to be.
PSYCHOTHERAPY AND PSYCHOANALYSIS
1] Ellenberger, Henri. The Discovery of the Unconscious. (Basic Books, 1970). This 900 page book is a classic. It places the history of dynamic psychiatry in a broad historical/cultural context. At the heart of the book are four 150 page chapters on Pierre Janet, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Sigmund Freud. These are excellent short biographies as well as summaries of the ideas of each man. Since it is harder to find good writing on Adler and Janet, these chapters are particularly valuable. The chapter on Mesmerism is also quite valuable and the short discussions of various post-Freudians are useful as well.
2] Makari, George. Revolution in Mind. (Harper, Collins, 2008). Makari, a psychoanalyst, who attended Brown and is now the Director of the Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Cornell, has written a tightly structured and tough-minded narrative of the history of psychoanalysis up to 1945. While Freud is, of course, a central figure, Makari gives the reader the a sense of the rivalries and contributions of many others.
3] Tauber, Alfred. Freud: The Reluctant Philosopher. Freud was critical, even dismissive, about the value of philosophy, styling himself just a scientist. Nonetheless, his work has been of great interest to philosophers. Tauber's book asks what kind of conversation Freud might have had with those philosophers who were his contemporaries. While this book is not 'history' or 'philosophy,' it does help contextualize Freud in the stream of 19th and 20 th century philosophic thought.
INSTITUTIONAL CARE OF THE INSANE
1] Grob, Gerald. Mental Institutions in America, (); Mental Illness and American Society, 1875-1940, (); From Asylum to Community, (); The Mad Among Us, (); Grob, who is the dean of historians of American psychiatry has written a trilogy detailing the development of institutional care of the mentally ill in the United States. The fourth title in this list is a shorter summary of the other three. Grob interprets much of the ill-treatment of the mentally ill over the years as "unintended consequence" of well meaning efforts to provide care. This has gotten him into some interesting debates with Marxists and others of the "social control" school, who see the mentally ill as the victims of efforts to manage various types of disorderly people in society.
2] Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization, Published in the 1960s, this book took a very cynical view of psychiatry, arguing that what psychiatrists took for the liberation of the mad in the late eighteenth century amounted to no more than substituting psychological chains for the physical chains that had previously prevailed. This book inspired a great flurry of work, some of it by imitators, but more importantly, much of it by historians who tried to get a less jaundiced view of what the treatment of the mentally ill has been like. Ironically, now that historians no longer spend much time considering Foucault, a new, more complete and better translation of his Folie et Déraison has come out as History of Madness, (Routledge, 2006).
3] Digby, Anne. Madness, Morality and Medicine: A study of the York Retreat: 1796-1914, (Cambridge U.P., 1985). As Foucault cast aspersions on the treatment at the legendary York Retreat, Digby combed the records of the facility and came up with a nuanced and intriguing account of what treatment there was like.
4] Tomes, Nancy. A generous confidence: Thomas Story Kirkbride and the art of asylum-keeping, 1840-1883, (Cambridge U.P., 1984). Along the same lines Tomes studied the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia. With particular emphasis on Kirkbride as a typical early nineteenth century asylum superintendent, she gives the reader an idea of what these men were trying to do with and for the insane. There is no comparable book about Butler Hospital and its superintendent, Isaac Ray, but as the parallels between the two hospitals and superintendents are so great Tomes' book can be read with an eye to getting a better understanding of what was going on in Rhode Island.
Braslow, Joel. Mental Ills and Bodily Cures: Psychiatric Treatment in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, (University of California Press, 1997). Using hospital records Braslow describes a number of biological treatments as they were administered. Sterilization, Malaria, electroconvulsive therapy and lobotomy are considered without the kind of ranting that often accompanies outmoded or misused treatments. The most important part of this book, however, is Braslow's consideration of the kind of doctor patient relationship created by the various biological treatments we may choose to use. Would you have thought, for example, that the use of malaria to treat cases of general paresis of the insane (parenchymal neurosyphilis) would have improved doctor's attitudes towards these patients?
Pressman, Jack, D. Last Resort: Psychosurgery and the Limits of Medicine, (Cambridge U.P., 1998). It is easy to rant about the use of lobotomy, as Elliot Valenstein did in his book Great and Desperate Cures (Basic Books, 1986). Pressman, however, attempts to answer the question of how smart and not particularly venal psychiatrists thought that this procedure was of great value as a psychiatric treatment. I found it helpful in reflecting on my own use of "great and desperate cures" such as clozapine, that inflict so many ills on patients.
Healy, David. The Anti-Depressant Era (Harvard U.P., 1997); The Creation of Psychopharmacology, (Harvard U.P., 2002). Healy is not a historian, but a psychopharmacology researcher with some strong biases. Nonetheless, he is very knowledgable and both of these books provide as good a place to start learning about the history of psychopharmacology as we have (the second is about anti-psychotics). Healy has written a number of other books and is worth knowing about as he is a dynamic force in shaping our thinking about the psychopharmacological revolution.
Hirshbein, Laura D. American Melancholy, (Rutgers U.P., 2009). Written by a psychiatrist/historian, this engaging book traces the growth of the diagnosis of depression in the second half of the twentieth century. Hirshbein argues that while the symptoms of depression can be found throughout history, the diagnosis of depression and its various treatments became commodities only late in the last century. What some have seen as the destigmatizing of a disease she interprets more as a marketing triumph. Her second argument is that reports that women suffer from depression much more frequently than men are not simple reports from nature but artifacts of the way depression has been studied. Her arguments about the construction of the diagnosis of depression got me thinking about the diagnoses that have come and gone--hysteria, neurasthenia-- and wondering how long the the diagnosis will retain its popularity. A particular strength of this book is that the author has not only described the psychiatric literature on depression, but also explored popular literature on the subject.
Tone, Andrea. The Age of Anxiety: A History of America's Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers, (Basic Books, 2009). Almost a companion piece to Hirsbein's book The Age of Anxiety traces the creation of the diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder and the production of treatments for it in the United States during the last half of the twentieth century. This book is less self-consciously constructionist and feminist than Hirsbein's, which is not to say that it does not make clear how the diagnosis of anxiety was constructed and how gender has played a role in marketing the diagnosis and its treatments. Tone is, however, more interested in changes in American culture and how this affected attitudes towards anxiety and its treatments. She does a wonderful job capturing the mood of the country during the Miltown years as well as during the ups and downs in our feelings about benzos. A particular pleasure in this book is that Tone interviewed two of the men responsible for particular medications--Frank Berger (Miltown) and Leo Sternbach (Librium)-- and puts their personal stories in counterpoint with the larger cultural story.
GENERAL HISTORIES. Goldstein
, Jan. Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century
, (Cambridge U.P., 1987). Although this book focuses on France in the nineteenth century, the fact that its protagonists are Philippe Pinel and Jean Martin Charcot, who were two crucial figures in the history of psychiatry, gives it a more general importance. Goldstein has been influenced by Foucault, though she writes much more lucidly, and this book provides an excellent opportunity to see how critics of psychiatry view its history. Tomes
, Nancy; Gamwell
, Lynn. Madness in America: Cultural and Medical Perceptions of Mental Illness Before 1914
, (Cornell U.P., 1995) A very engaging 'popular' history, with lots of pictures, by a distinguished historian and a librarian. My copy was one gift from a drug company that I have held onto.
Shorter, Edward. A History of Psychiatry: Fromthe Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac, (Wiley, 1997). Shorter is a historian, as well as a friend of Healy's, and a bit of an apologist for biological psychiatry (and a critic of psychoanalysis). He writes well, is very knowledgeable and is able to cover a lot of ground in few pages. Not a bad place to get an overview of the recent history of psychiatry, if you keep his biases in mind.
Porter, Roy. Madness: A Brief History, (Oxford, U.P., 2002); A Social History of Madness: The World Through the Eyes of the Insane, (Dutton, 1989); The Faber Book of Madness, (Faber, 1991). Porter, a charismatic and generous (to me among many others) historian, who, sadly died a few years ago at age 56, left us his Madness, which is a short and enjoyable general history and a great place to start reading about the history of psychiatry. Porter was especially interested in what non-specialists had to say about madness and the other two books listed are collections of short statements by non-psychiatrists.
Zilboorg, Gregory. A History of Medical Psychology, (Norton, 1941). Zilboorg, a psychoanalyst who served gourmet dinners and discussed the history of psychiatry in our own Ray Library in the 1950s, wrote this "whig history" to show that all roads lead to Freud. When I first became interested in the history of psychiatry, it was all that was available. You can do better now.
Porter, Roy; Berrios, German. A History of Clinical Psychiatry, (Aldine, 1995), Historians of psychiatry sometimes divide themselves among 'internalists' and 'externalists.' This collection presents the histories of various psychiatric disorders from both an internalist (in terms of the development of knowledge) and externalist (in terms of the influence of social, economic and political factors) perspective. I wrote the externalist chapters on alcoholism and PTSD.
Kushner, Howard, I. A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome. (Harvard U.P., 1999). By focusing on a relatively narrowly defined entity Kushner is able to show how a particular syndrome attracts widely divergent explanati0ns and treatments as at different times and in different cultures. It helps me be a little less enthusiastic about the various explanations of, as well as treatments for, the various syndromes I hear about every day.
Brumberg, Joan, Jacobs. Fasting Girls: A History of Anorexia Nervosa, (New American Library, 1989); Vandereychken, Walter & van Deth, Ron. From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girsl: The History of Self-Starvation, (New York U.P. 1994). Brumberg's book is "feminist' in orientation, focuses on relatively recent American history and is easy to read. Vandereychken and van Deth take a longer, more European and less ideological look at self-starvation. It is a less easy read.
Hacking, Ian. Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory, (Princeton U.P., 1995); Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses, (University Press of Virginia, 1998) In the first book, Hacking who is a philosopher, influenced by Foucault, asks why the number of cases of Multiple Personality Disorder have increased at certain periods. At the time this book was very helpful for many of us in getting a better grip on the MPD epidemic that was raging in this country, but not in others. In Mad Travelers, Hacking takes a similar approach to Fugue and asks the general question of why some psychiatric disorders appear quite frequently for a time and then disappear.
1] Gollaher, David. Voice for the Mad: The Life of Dorthea Dix; (The Free Press, 1995). The best biography of the nineteenth century lay reformer who catalized the transformation of the institutional care of the mentally ill and played a role in the establishment of Butler Hospital.
2] Kramer, Peter. Freud: The Inventor of the Modern Mind, (Harper/collins, 2006). Given all the tomes devoted to Freud, our own Peter Kramer's slight but engaging reflections on Freud, especially as a clinician, is not a bad place for a young psychiatrist to begin learning about the dominant figure in 20th century psychiatry.
3] Sulloway, Frank J. Freud: Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend. (Basic Books, 1979). While Sulloway's emphasis on debunking the psychoanalytic legend of Freud "the great man," may seem a bit dated, I found his efforts to articulate the various biological roots of Freud's ideas very helpful in understanding the structure of psychiatric explanations.
4]Friedman, Lawrence J. Menninger: The Family and the Clinic, (Knopf, 1990). Provides a close and critical look at the development of psychiatry during the middle of the 20th century, which I would call the period of "psychoanalytic hegemony." It was a period in which psychoanalytic evangelists like the Menningers suggested psychoanalytic treatment for all manner of disorders from Tourettes [see Kushner, above] to any and all psychoses. If you develop an interest in the Menningers, you might also consider reading The Cobweb a novel by William Gibson [who wrote the Miracle Worker among other things.], which is a fictionalized telling of the Menninger story. There are, of course, many other novels, stories and films that fictionalize episodes in the history of psychiatry, not to mention memoirs by famous and not so famous patients.
MacDonald, Michael. Mystical Bedlam: Madness, anxiety,and healing in seventeenth-century England, (Cambridge U.P., 1981) Using the case records of a 17th century British astrological healer, MacDonald what people thought about and how they dealt with the mentally ill before the advent of modern theories.
Jimenez, Mary Ann. Changing Faces of Madness: Early American Attitudes and Treatmentof the Insane, (Brandeis U.P., 1987). Using a broader array of sources than MacDonald, Jimenez provides a look at ideas about and treatments for the mentally, especially in New England. It is a useful corrective to the "whig" view that before the modern period the mentally ill were only treated harshly.
Porter, Roy. Mind-Forg'd Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency, (Harvard U.P., 1987). The standard telling of the origins of psychiatry start in 1790s. Porter relates the story of the often sophisticated treatment the mentally ill received in England in the century before this.
WOMEN AND PSYCHIATRY.
Showalter, Elaine. The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980, (Pantheon Books, 1985) Showalter is a professor of English. As the title suggests these essays on various topics in the history of psychiatry reflect on the cultural relations between 'madness' and 'women.' One essay, for example, it titled "Nervous Women: Sex Roles and Sick Roles."
Buhle, Mari Jo. Feminism and its Discontents: A Century of Struggle with Psychoanaysis, (Harvard U.P., 1998) A Brown University historian and MacArthur grant winner explores the troubled relations during the twentieth century in the United States between two theories of human liberation--feminism and psychoanalysis.
Rosenberg, Charles, The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau: Psychiatry and Law in the Gilded Age, (University of Chicago Press, 1968). When Charles Guiteau was tried for the assassination of President Garfield psychiatrists and neurologists were involved on both sides of the debate over his sanity. Rosenberg, a leading historian of medicine, engagingly tells the story of this important moment in the history of psychiatry as both social history and intellectual history.
Smith, Roger. Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials, (Edinburgh University Press, 1981). An analysis of medicolegal conflict over the insanity plea in Victorian England. It is a story of advocates of medical determinism struggling to overthrow traditional views of human responsibility and replace them with more "scientific" ones based on a knowledge of neurophysiology.
The Madness of King George: Based on Allen Bennet's play this this is a comical presentation of what was a very important event in the history of psychiatry.
: Acclaimed director Werner Herzog weaves this drama based on the legend of Kaspar Hauser, a teenage boy who mysteriously appeared on the streets of Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk and apparently held in solitary confinement his entire life.
The Wild Child: One of director François Truffaut's tells the story of a feral child who's grown up wild in the forest is discovered in France in 1798.
Gail Hornstein has compiled a comprehensive Bibliography of First-Person Accounts of Madness in English, which can be found at : [http://www.gailhornstein.com/works.htm]
KEEPING UP TO DATE.
A new blog, with contributions from several authors, is available to keep you up to date on publications and events relating to the history of psychiatry. You can find it at: http://historypsychiatry.wordpress.com/
You can find most of my articles as well as a link to my blog "Psychiatry and History" on my website "Footnotes to the History of Psychiatry"