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“Shattered Nerves” : Doctors, Patients, and Depression in Victorian England [ electronic resource ] / by Janet Oppenheim.

By: Oppenheim, Janet.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Oxford Scholarship Online , 2011ISBN: 9780195057812 ( e-book ).Subject(s): HistoryGenre/Form: Electronic booksOnline resources: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195057812.001.0001 View to click Summary: This book explores an illness that figures in nearly every volume of Victorian autobiography, memoirs, diaries, letters, and more than a few novels. Variously described as shattered nerves, nervous collapse, neurasthenia, or nervous breakdown, the illness was the focus of extensive medical discussion during the Victorian and Edwardian decades. Few doctors could decide whether the nervous breakdown was a physiological disorder, to be cured by medication, or a moral weakness for which the patient needed psychiatric care. The book uses the letters, diaries, and autobiographies of men and women who suffered breakdowns, examines medical archives, published scientific sources, and contemporary fiction, in which the “nervous type” was so familiar as to border on caricature. The book places a puzzling medical problem in its full social, cultural, and intellectual context.
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This book explores an illness that figures in nearly every volume of Victorian autobiography, memoirs, diaries, letters, and more than a few novels. Variously described as shattered nerves, nervous collapse, neurasthenia, or nervous breakdown, the illness was the focus of extensive medical discussion during the Victorian and Edwardian decades. Few doctors could decide whether the nervous breakdown was a physiological disorder, to be cured by medication, or a moral weakness for which the patient needed psychiatric care. The book uses the letters, diaries, and autobiographies of men and women who suffered breakdowns, examines medical archives, published scientific sources, and contemporary fiction, in which the “nervous type” was so familiar as to border on caricature. The book places a puzzling medical problem in its full social, cultural, and intellectual context.

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