Author : Henry Maudsley (1835-1918)

Title : Body and Mind (1873)

Keywords: abnormality, passionate, idiot, eye, animal, insane temperament, insane, features, convulsions, spasmodic, insane neurosis, genius, physical, nature, deficiency, innate, tyranny.

Pages : Introduction | Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3


This book is comprised of the Gulstonian lectures delivered by Maudsley to the Royal College of Physicians in 1870. It includes essays on Hamlet, Swedenborg, the Theory of Vitality, and the Limits of Philosophical Enquiry . Maudsley’s insistence on the physiological basis of insanity and other abnormalities is here reinforced in his discussion of the physical nature of idiots. Similarly, when exploring what he calls the ‘insane temperament’ Maudsley discusses both mental and bodily marks. Like many of his contemporaries, Maudsley was imbued with the principles of evolutionary biology, and he examines the ‘insane neurosis’ in light of inheritance. He wholeheartedly believed that no-one could ever hope to escape the ‘tyranny of his organization’.

These three brief excerpts, taken from V. Skultans (ed.), Madness and Morals: Ideas on Insanity in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1975), reveal Maudsley’s uncompromising adherence to a physiological understanding of lunacy.

Back to Madness Documents | Introduction | Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3