Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century (3/25, 5/13/2011)

Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century
A one-day conference on Friday 13th May 2011
Birmingham, UK

"The place where optimism flourishes most is the lunatic asylum" - Havelock Ellis

This interdisciplinary conference will address a range of issues concerning the perception of insanity and madness in the nineteenth century, its manifestations and treatments, and the patients themselves. The conference will take place on Friday 13th May, 2011, in the chapel of the Birmingham Lunatic Asylum, an impressive building used to restrain and treat patients from 1862 until 1964.

We invite papers on a range of subjects related to this theme. Please submit an abstract of 350 words to serena.trowbridge@bcu.ac.uk by 25th March, 2011. Subjects covered might include:

  • The life of patients in lunatic asylums
  • The literary treatment of madness and lunatic asylums
  • Early psychiatry in the asylum
  • The architecture and physical space of the lunatic asylum
  • Artists and writers and insanity
  • Poetry and madness
  • Insanity and/or the asylum in the nineteenth-century novel

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