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This Way Madness Lies

The Three Ages of the Asylum

ISBN: 9780500518977 (HB - E)

This Way Madness Lies is a thought-provoking exploration of the history of madness and its treatment as seen through the lens of its proverbial home: the Royal Bethlem Hospital, London, popularly known as Bedlam. Organized chronologically, the book charts the evolution of the asylum through four distinct incarnations: the 18th-century madhouse, the 19th-century asylum, the 20th-century mental hospital and the wider community. It reveals the role that the history of madness and its treatment has played in creating the landscape they all inhabit. Moving and sometimes provocative illustrations sourced from the Wellcome Trust's exceptional collection and the Royal Bethlem Hospital's archive highlight the trajectory of each successive era of institution: founded in the optimistic spirit of humanitarian reform but eventually dismantled amid accusations of cruelty and neglect. Each chapter concludes with a selection of revealing and captivating artwork created by some of the inmates of the institutions of that era. Compelling and intriguing, these artworks express the personalities and feelings of the originators far more powerfully than descriptions of their conditions.


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