Madness in Civilization: from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull
Reviewed by Salley Vickers, The Telegraph, 29 Mar 2015
I doubt whether many people other than social science students read Michel Foucault these days. Andrew Scull, whose review of Foucault’s The History of Madness in 2007 took the French philosopher to task for historical inaccuracies, references his most famous work, Madness and Civilization, in the title of his own book (a sly corrective?). As the subtitle of Madness in Civilization suggests, Scull’s book is as epic as Foucault’s in its aim to consider “the encounter between madness and civilisation over more than two millennia”. This not inconsiderable undertaking encompasses the ancient civilisations of Greece, China and Persia, the art and writings of the Renaissance, the First World War poets and brain imaging, to name just a few of Scull’s subjects.