MASTERS OF BEDLAM

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE MAD-DOCTORING TRADE

A terse traipse through Foucault terrain that explores the careers of several Victorians who made a living out of the ``lunacy trade.'' According to sociologist Scull (Univ. of Calif., San Diego) and British health and education experts MacKenzie and Hervey, the advance of capitalism in the 19th century gave rise to a whole class of people who brought ``skill and expertise rather than material goods'' to the marketplace. And while a career associated with the mentally ill was still thought ignominious in England, a number of ambitious men sought to make names for themselves, and make their way in the medical establishment, by proselytizing their ``cures.'' Purging, vomiting, and punitive treatment had formerly been the practice in asylums, but an onslaught of moral reform agents campaigned to revolutionize the system. John Haslam, who rose to prominence at Bethlem Hospital for the insane in London, even published a book promoting the necessity of benevolence in such institutions. Yet when a group of reformers spontaneously toured the asylum, they were aghast to find the patients naked and shackled in their cells, their bodies smeared with excrement. Other, more consistent figures honestly sought change through a variety of non-medical cures but ended up resorting to medical solutions in the face of failing idealism and low recovery rates. Nevertheless, the new social consciousness about the insane, combined with the advent of psychoanalysis, formed the foundation for modern psychiatry. In tracing the lives of the men who shaped the field of psychiatry in Britain, the authors relentlessly drive home the the manner in which the needs of a society shape its principles and theories, while also lucidly emphasizing the effect of social ambitions on personal philosophy. A punchy study that makes up for its occasionally dry tone with scholarly rigor and zeal. (18 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-691-03411-7

Page Count: 408

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more