A History of Madness in Sixteenth-century Germany
This magisterial work explores how Renaissance Germans understood and experienced madness. It focuses on the insanity of the world in general but also on specific disorders; examines the thinking on madness of theologians, jurists, and physicians; and analyzes the vernacular ideas that propelled sufferers to seek help in pilgrimage or newly founded hospitals for the helplessly disordered. In the process, the author uses the history of madness as a lens to illuminate the history of the Renaissance, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the history of poverty and social welfare, and the history of princely courts, state building, and the civilizing process.
Rather than try to fit historical experience into modern psychiatric categories, this book reconstructs the images and metaphors through which Renaissance Germans themselves understood and experienced mental illness and deviance, ranging from such bizarre conditions as St. Vitus s dance and demonic possession to such medical crises as melancholy and mania. By examining the records of shrines and hospitals, where the mad went for relief, we hear the voices of the mad themselves.
For many religious Germans, sin was a form of madness and the sinful world was thoroughly insane. This book compares the thought of Martin Luther and the medical-religious reformer Paracelsus, who both believed that madness was a basic category of human experience. For them and others, the sixteenth century was an age of increasing demonic presence; the demon-possessed seemed to be everywhere. For Renaissance physicians, however, the problem was finding the correct ancient Greek concepts to describe mental illness. In medical terms, the late sixteenth century was the age of melancholy. For jurists, the customary insanity defense did not clarify whether melancholy persons were responsible for their actions, and they frequently solicited the advice of physicians.
Sixteenth-century Germany was also an age of folly, with fools filling a major role in German art and literature and present at every prince and princeling s court. The author analyzes what Renaissance Germans meant by folly and examines the lives and social contexts of several court fools.
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Historical Problems Sin StVitus and the Devil
Two Reformers and a World Gone Mad Luther and Paracelsus
Psychiatry and the Rise of Galenic Observation
Witchcraft and the Melancholy Interpretation of the Insanity Defense
Court Fools and Their Folly Image and Social Reality
Pilgrims in Search of Their Reason
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afflicted Altötting ancient Basel Bavaria Benediktbeuern bestial body Carpzov Catholic Christ Christian claim Claus Narr Counter-Reformation court fool crime culture cure daemonum dancing mania demonic possession described devil disease early modern edition example exorcism Felix Platter folly Frankfurt aſ furor Galen German Geschichte Haina Haina and Merxhausen Hesse Hippocrates history of madness Holy human humors Hysteria Ibid insanity defense Johann Weyer Juliusspital jurists Landgrave late medieval learned Luther Lutheran madman Mariazell medicine melancholy mental disorder mental illness mind miracle books monastery moral Munich natural fool Ofhuys Paracelsus Paracelsus's persons Peter Philipp physical physicians pilgrimage pilgrims Platter poor praestigiis Pratensis prince problems Protestant Psychiatry punishment reason Reformation Regensburg religious Renaissance Roman saints Schenck seems sense shrine sick sinful sixteenth century social soul sources spirit StAM Strasbourg suicide Taubmann thought tion Tübingen Tuntenhausen Vitus Wilhelm witchcraft witches women Würzburg
Page 10 - The truth of the doctrine of cultural . . . relativism is that we can never apprehend another people's or another period's imagination neatly, as though it were our own. The falsity of it is that we can therefore never genuinely apprehend it at all.
Page 16 - Renaissance Quarterly 44 (1991): 776-91. 26. For a useful discussion regarding how the issue of class differentiates the apparently similar diseases of "melancholy
Page 10 - The falsify of it is that we can therefore never genuinely apprehend it at all. We can apprehend it well enough, at least as well as we apprehend anything else not properly ours; but we do so not by looking behind the interfering glosses that connect us to it but through them. Professor Trilling's nervousness about the epistemological complacency of traditional humanism is not misplaced. The exactest reply to it is James Merrill's wrenching observation that life is translation, and we are all lost...