'Noisy, restless and incoherent' : puerperal insanity at Dundee Lunatic Asylum
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Puerperal insanity has been described as a nineteenth-century diagnosis, entrenched in contemporary expectations of proper womanly behaviour. Drawing on detailed study of establishment registers and patient case notes, this paper examines the puerperal insanity diagnosis at Dundee Lunatic Asylum between 1820 and 1860. In particular, the study aims to consider whether the class or social status of the patients had a bearing on how their conditions were perceived and rationalized, and how far the puerperal insanity diagnosis, coloured by the values assigned to it by the medical officers, may have been reserved for some women and not for others. This examination of the diagnosis in a Scottish community, suggesting a contrast in the way that middle-class and working-class women were diagnosed at Dundee, engages with and expands on work on puerperal insanity elsewhere.
Campbell , M A 2017 , ' 'Noisy, restless and incoherent' : puerperal insanity at Dundee Lunatic Asylum ' , History of Psychiatry , vol. 28 , no. 1 , pp. 44-57 . https://doi.org/10.1177/0957154X16671262
History of Psychiatry
© 2017 the Authors. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0957154X16671262
DescriptionThis research is supported by the Strathmartine Trust Scottish History Scholarship, St Andrews.
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