Science, Nature & Math Reference Books

The Golden and Ghoulish Age of the Gibbet in Britain (Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife)

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 licence. This book is the first academic study of the post-mortem practice of gibbeting (‘hanging in chains’), since the nineteenth century. Gibbeting involved placing the executed body of a malefactor in an iron cage and suspending it from a tall post. A body might remain in the gibbet for many decades, while it gradually fell to pieces. Hanging in chains was a very different sort of post-mortem punishment from anatomical dissection, although the two were equal alternatives in the eyes of the law. Where dissection obliterated and de-individualised the body, hanging in chains made it monumental and rooted it in the landscape, adding to personal notoriety. Focusing particularly on the period 1752-1832, this book provides a summary of the historical evidence, the factual history of gibbetting which explores the locations of gibbets, the material technologies involved in hanging in chains, and the actual process from erection to eventual collapse. It also considers the meanings, effects and legacy of this gruesome practice.

From Melancholia to Depression: Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access book maps a crucial but neglected chapter in the history of psychiatry: how was melancholia transformed in the nineteenth century from traditional melancholy madness into a modern biomedical mood disorder, paving the way for the emergence of clinical depression as a psychiatric illness in the twentieth century? At a time when the prevalence of mood disorders and antidepressant consumption are at an all-time high, the need for a comprehensive historical understanding of how modern depressive illness came into being has never been more urgent. This book addresses a significant gap in existing scholarly literature on melancholia, depression, and mood disorders by offering a contextualised and critical perspective on the history of melancholia in the first decades of psychiatry, from the 1830s until the turn of the twentieth century.

The Cost of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: Public, Voluntary and Private Asylum Care (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access book is the first comparative study of public, voluntary and private asylums in nineteenth-century Ireland. Examining nine institutions, it explores whether concepts of social class and status and the emergence of a strong middle class informed interactions between gender, religion, identity and insanity. It questions whether medical and lay explanations of mental illness and its causes, and patient experiences, were influenced by these concepts. The strong emphasis on land and its interconnectedness with notions of class identity and respectability in Ireland lends a particularly interesting dimension. The book interrogates the popular notion that relatives were routinely locked away to be deprived of land or inheritance, querying how often “land grabbing” Irish families really abused the asylum system for their personal economic gain. The book will be of interest to scholars of nineteenth-century Ireland and the history of psychiatry and medicine in Britain and Ireland.

Functional Somatic Symptoms in Children and Adolescents: A Stress-System Approach to Assessment and Treatment (Palgrave Texts in Counselling and Psychotherapy)

This open access book sets out the stress-system model for functional somatic symptoms in children and adolescents. The book begins by exploring the initial encounter between the paediatrician, child, and family, moves through the assessment process, including the formulation and the treatment contract, and then describes the various forms of treatment that are designed to settle the child’s dysregulated stress system. This approach both provides a new understanding of how such symptoms emerge – typically, through a history of recurrent or chronic stress, either physical or psychological – and points the way to effective assessment, management, and treatment that put the child (and family) back on the road to health and well-being.