Author : Alexander Morison (1779-1866)

Title : Outlines of Mental Diseases (1824)

Keywords:face, expression, physiognomy, eyes, signs, masks, mental disease, moral causes, restraint, separation, Seclusion, delusions

Pages : Introduction | excerpt 1 | excerpt 2


These two excerpts, from V. Skultans (ed.), Madness and Morals: Ideas on Insanity in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1975), reveal Morison’s belief that cure was possible only when the lunatic was removed from the causes of madness. He was a supporter of seclusion, though unlike his contemporary John Conolly, he preferred smaller lodgings to large asylums. Morison is also remembered for his interest in the physiognomy of insanity, a theory posited by Lavater in the late-eighteenth century in which the moral characters of individuals were imprinted on the face, for all to ‘read’. His collection of plates depicting insane patients suffering various forms of lunacy constitute, according to Macalpine and Hunter, the ‘first English Atlas of the physiognomy of the insane’.

Back to Madness Documents | Introduction | excerpt 1 | excerpt 2