Sex, Religion, and the Making of Modern Madness

Sex, Religion, and the Making of Modern Madness : The Eberbach Asylum and German Society, 1815-1849

3.63 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


How did the affliction we now know as insanity move from a religious phenomenon to a medical one? How did social class, gender, and ethnicity affect the experience of mental trauma and the way psychiatrists diagnosed and treated patients? In answering these questions, this important volume mines the rich and unusually detailed records of one of Germany's first modern insane asylums, the Eberbach Asylum in the duchy of Nassau. It is a book on the historical relationship between madness and modernity that both builds upon and challenges Michel Foucault's landmark work on this topic, a bold study that gives generous consideration to madness from the patient's perspective while also shedding new light on sexuality, politics, and antisemitism in nineteenth-century Germany. Drawing on the case records of several hundred asylum patients, Sex, Religion, and the Making of Modern Madness reconstructs the encounters of state officials and medical practitioners with peasant madness and deviancy duringshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 246 pages
  • 156 x 234.2 x 19.3mm | 432.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 4 halftones, 1 map
  • 0195140524
  • 9780195140521
  • 1,445,077

Review quote

"Ann Goldberg's new book opens a challenging new dimension of nineteenth-century German social history. We've had histories of asylums and medicalization in other national fields for some years, likewise a profusion of works on the formation of Germany's bourgeois culture. There is even the kernel of a literature on early nineteenth-century German rural society. Now Goldberg has beautifully brought together these concerns. This fascinating exploration of sexualities, religion, and the modern pedagogies of order takes us to the frontier of bourgeois culture and rural society, where ordinary people learned how to be ill. This is a 'micro' history that compels the 'macro' to listen."-Geoff Eley, The University of Michigan "Goldberg's enterprise is an original and long-missed contribution to the social and cultural history of madness in the first half of the nineteenth century. Her work provides at the same time valuable insights into the broader field of the history of peasant culture and social experience, especially in the rural world of Nassau. The strength of Goldberg's work is an outstanding and sensitive interpretation of the individual's experience of madness as a language of distress and dissent in rural lower-class culture that was shaped by gender and ethnicity."-Doris Kaufmann, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin "Goldberg's remarkable study of mental illness in early nineteenth-century Germany places the phenomenon of insanity squarely within the context of a late absolutist regime and a crisis-ridden, impoverished social and economic order. Her account of the gendered structuring of madness, its bureaucratic politics, and its connections to religious enthusiasm and religious prejudice offers an unexpected but extraordinarily illuminating insight into state and society in Germany before the revolution of 1848."-Jonathan Sperber, University of Missouri "Goldberg's rigorous, penetrating, and suggestive investigation of social values and the development of psychiatric practices in Vormaerz Germany offers more than just fascinating glimpses of life in and around a typical asylum....Lucid text, detailed citations, and comprehensive bibliography. Highly recommended."-Choice Ann Goldberg has written an excellent social histor of madness in the first decades of the modern insane asylum ... a sensitive micro-study. * Isabel V. Hull, German History, 18,3. * One of Goldberg's most important accomplishments is to restore religion to its central place in the development of modern insanity. * Isabel V. Hull, German History 18,3. * Goldberg is equally good at showing how patients tried to overcome the immense power gradient between them and the doctors, and how their efforts so often succeeded only in confirming a diagnosis of insanity. * Isabel V. Hull, German History 18,3. * Goldberg's excellent study ... raises many fruitful questions for future research. It demonstrates well how sensitive, deep reading of local sources can deepen our understanding of large-scale social, intellectual and institutional transformations. * Isabel V. Hull, German History 18,3. *show more

About Ann Goldberg

Ann Goldberg is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, more

Table of contents


Rating details

11 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 27% (3)
4 36% (4)
3 18% (2)
2 9% (1)
1 9% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X