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(08/31/2008) Madness & Civilization: A History Of Insanity In The Age Of Reason by Michel Foucault. New York. 1965. Pantheon Books. Translated from the French by Richard Howard. With an introduction by Dr. Jose Barchilon, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. keywords: Psychology Philosophy History. 299 pages. Jacket design by Pan Visual. June 1965.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   During the Middle Ages insanity was in many respects considered a part of everyday life. Fools and madmen walked the streets much as they appear in the plays of Shakespeare and in Don Quixote. At some point in history, the West's attitude toward madness changed and these people began to be considered a threat. Asylums were built for the first time; madmen were put away, and an attempt was made to put a wall between the insane and the rest of humanity. In recent years the question of madness and how to define it has become the center of a great deal of discussion, partly social and psychological--reports show that a vast majority of New Yorkers are neurotic in varying degrees --but also judicial: how can one decide who is to be put away? This is the question that Dr. Foucault seeks to answer in an analysis of the history of madness from roughly 1500 to 1800. Basing himself on vast research into medical as well as theological thought, economics as well as literature, he has created a unique and highly relevant work, a masterpiece of research, understanding, and imagination.

 

 

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