Loves Madness: Medicine, the Novel, and Female Insanity, 1800-1865

Paperback | September 1, 1998

byHelen Small

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Love's Madness makes an important new contribution to the interdisciplinary study of insanity. Focusing on the figure of the love-mad woman, Helen Small presents a significant reassessment of the ways in which British medical writers and novelists of the nineteenth century thought aboutmadness, about femininity, and about narrative convention. At the centre of the book are studies of novels by Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens, but Small also brings out the historical and literary interest of hitherto neglected writings by CharlesMaturin, Lady Caroline Lamb, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and others. Stories about women who go mad when they lose their lovers were extraordinarily popular during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, attracting novelists, poets, dramatists, musicians, painters, and sculptors. The representative figure of madness ceased to be the madman in chains andbecame instead the woman whose insanity was an extension of her female condition. Love's Madness traces the fortunes of love-mad women in fiction and in medicine between about 1800 and 1865. In literary terms, these dates demarcate the period between the decline of sentimentalism and the emergenceof sensation fiction. In medical terms, they mark out a key stage in the history of insanity, beginning with major reform initiatives and ending with the establishment in 1865 of the Medico-Psychological Association. This original and highly readable study challenges previous assumptions about the relationship between medicine and the novel. A major addition to nineteenth-century studies, it will be of interest to students and scholars of literature, feminism, social history, and the history ofmedicine.

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Love's Madness makes an important new contribution to the interdisciplinary study of insanity. Focusing on the figure of the love-mad woman, Helen Small presents a significant reassessment of the ways in which British medical writers and novelists of the nineteenth century thought aboutmadness, about femininity, and about narrative con...

Helen Small is at University of Bristol.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198184913

ISBN - 13:9780198184911

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Table of Contents

1. Love's Madness2. Love-Mad Women and the Rhetoric of Gentlemanly Medicine3. Hyperbole and the Love-Mad Woman: George III, `Rosa Matilda', and Jane Austen in 18114. Love-Mad Women and Political Insurrection in Regency Fiction5. The Hyena's Laughter: Lucretia and Jane Eyre6. The Woman in White, Great Expectations, and the Limits of MedicineSelect BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`A thorough book. As a work of research, Small's study is to be highly recommended.'John Maynard - Modern Philology.