Madness in England

I’ve been avoiding it for long enough. It seems to be the right moment to acquire a basic knowledge of the history of madness in England. Eventually I will try to get as much of an understanding of medieval insanity as humanly possible.. but I’m resisting the urge to learn very much about that period of history until I have a basic understanding of the Gospels and have become somewhat versed in some poets who have grabbed my interest, and learn to become less intimidated by Shakespeare etc.

I was searching for materials relating to Nathaniel Cotton, who I want to learn about after coming across his name when learning a little bit about William Cowper. I’ve  discovered a book ‘Mind-Forged Manacles: A History of Madness in England From the Restoration to the Regency’ by Roy Porter.

I think the Regency period is about as modern as I am going to get as far as future intensive reading on lunacy is concerned. I have decided there is little point in me reading books about modern psychiatry (post-Victorian) until I’m quite well educated in what came before.

I’m quite certain anyway that a lot of books I come across will contain detailed comparisons of old vs. new, so I’m not trying to shy away from contemporary psychiatry. I just can’t avoid the fact that I am very prejudiced against the arts of psychiatry, psychology and sociology etc.,

I’m learning slowly and surely to think for myself. After discovering I am a conservative minded person of some kind.. I’m doing my very best to avoid jumping to conclusions about anything. It must make me very annoying to live with. I sometimes worry that I may be only a small gust of wind away from becoming a flat earth enthusiast, but whereas I have never been privy to definitive proof that the earth is round or that the moon landings are genuine, on the other hand I’ve not come across an intelligent flat-earther who can prove their conspiracy theories. I admire the lines of questioning of some people online who seem to believe the earth is flat. I am not quite sure how I would prove a lot of the things that I assume to be true.

I had an idea about story about two people who form a close friendship, one being someone who is a flat earth young earth creationist, and the other a militant evolutionary atheist. It’s an idea. Not one that I imagine will grow into anything.

I’m starting to form lots of ideas, which I won’t bother you with. Most of them, almost all of them I do not write down. I probably should. But I hope and believe that if an idea slowly develops in my mind, gradually it will get to a point that I have no choice but to scribble down the thoughts for the sake of my sanity.

Patience is such a hard skill for a maniac like me to develop. I suspect it might turn out, if I ever become a wise man, that I’ll discover that in these strange times I was in fact one of the most patient people in existence.

I’m babbling. Better than ranting and raving, but babbling was not my intention.

To the book.. I’m skipping the Introduction, I will come to the introduction at the end. If I get through the book in its entirety, it will be interesting to see if I agree with the introduction or not.

I must also try my best to not learn about the author via a google search etc..

All an attempt to handicap the bias in my mind the best I possibly  can:




by Roy Porter





Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *