Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 1-19 Open Access
  3. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 21-59 Open Access
  4. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 61-99 Open Access
  5. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 101-139 Open Access
  6. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 141-179 Open Access
  7. Jennifer Wallis
    Pages 181-220 Open Access
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 221-276

About this book


This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This book explores how the body was investigated in the late nineteenth-century asylum in Britain. As more and more Victorian asylum doctors looked to the bodily fabric to reveal the ‘truth’ of mental disease, a whole host of techniques and technologies were brought to bear upon the patient's body. These practices encompassed the clinical and the pathological, from testing the patient's reflexes to dissecting the brain.

Investigating the Body in the Victorian Asylum takes a unique approach to the topic, conducting a chapter-by-chapter dissection of the body. It considers how asylum doctors viewed and investigated the skin, muscles, bones, brain, and bodily fluids. The book demonstrates the importance of the body in nineteenth-century psychiatry as well as how the asylum functioned as a site of research, and will be of value to historians of psychiatry, the body, and scientific practice.


History of Psychiatry Mental health Victorianism Asylums in history Incarceration Open Access

Authors and affiliations

  • Jennifer Wallis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HistoryQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-56713-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-56714-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site