This chapter discusses late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century literary texts that depict the madhouse as a Gothic space in which individuals are pushed to the limits of what they can bear. In the language of William Battie’s 1758 Treatise on Madness, it is “Consequential” rather than “Original” madness that is of interest in such works: disorders that occur in response to a trauma. This group of texts exploits the terrible irony of the potential for that external cause to be the madhouse itself. In doing so, they hit a cultural raw nerve centring on the unjust confinement of women and demonstrate how easily madness could be defined as behaviour that disrupted gendered hierarchies.
|Title of host publication||Life, Death, and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century|
|Editors||Lucy Cogan, Michelle O'Connell|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 9 Sept 2022|
|Name||Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine|
- Medical Humanities
- Romantic-period literature