A number of articles now forthcoming in History of Psychiatry may be of interest to AHP readers. Details about the pieces, all online now, follow below.
“The nature of love: Harlow, Bowlby and Bettelheim on affectionless mothers,” Lenny van Rosmalen, René van der Veer, Frank C. P. van der Horst. Abstract:
Harry Harlow, famous for his experiments with rhesus monkeys and cloth and wire mothers, was visited by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby and by child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in 1958. They made similar observations of Harlow’s monkeys, yet their interpretations were strikingly different. Bettelheim saw Harlow’s wire mother as a perfect example of the ‘refrigerator mother’, causing autism in her child, while Bowlby saw Harlow’s results as an explanation of how socio-emotional development was dependent on responsiveness of the mother to the child’s biological needs. Bettelheim’s solution was to remove the mother, while Bowlby specifically wanted to involve her in treatment. Harlow was very critical of Bettelheim, but evaluated Bowlby’s work positively.
“Wild melancholy: On the historical plausibility of a black bile theory of blood madness, or hæmatomania,” Jan Verplaetse. Abstract:
Nineteenth-century art historian John Addington Symonds coined the term hæmatomania (blood madness) for the extremely bloodthirsty behaviour of a number of disturbed rulers like Ibrahim II of Ifriqiya (850–902) and Ezzelino da Romano (1194–1259). According to Symonds, this mental pathology was linked to melancholy and caused by an excess of black bile. I explore the historical credibility of this theory of ‘wild melancholy’, a type of melancholia that crucially deviates from the lethargic main type. I conclude that in its pure form Symonds’ black bile theory of hæmatomania was never a broadly supported perspective, but can be traced back to the nosology of the ninth-century physician Ishaq ibn Imran, who practised at the Aghlabid court, to which the sadistic Ibrahim II belonged.
“The madness of Princess Alice: Sigmund Freud, Ernst Simmel and Alice of Battenberg at Kurhaus Schloß Tegel,” Dany Nobus. Abstract:
During the winter of 1930, Princess Alice of Battenberg was admitted to Kurhaus Schloß Tegel, where she was diagnosed with schizophrenic paranoia. When Freud was consulted about her case by Ernst Simmel, the Sanatorium’s Director, he recommended that the patient’s ovaries be exposed to high-intensity X-rays. Freud’s suggestion was not based on any psychoanalytic treatment principles, but rooted in a rejuvenation technique to which Freud himself had subscribed. In recommending that psychotic patients should be treated with physical interventions, Freud confirmed his conviction that the clinical applicability of psychoanalysis should not be extrapolated beyond the neuroses, yet he also asserted that a proper consideration of endocrinological factors in the aetiology and treatment of the psychoses should never be excluded.
“Psychiatric wards of Soochow Elizabeth Blake Hospital (1898–1937): a missing piece in the history of modern Chinese psychiatry,” Tingwei Fan, Qing Hu, Ming Liu. Abstract:
The history of modern psychiatry in China began at the end of the nineteenth century, as a result of the work of missionaries. Soochow was one of the first cities to establish a hospital for the treatment of mental patients, but historians knew little about it. It provided a valuable service from 1898 to 1937. In the 1930s, there were 200 beds in the psychiatry and neurology section, making it the most influential psychiatric hospital in East China. After Soochow was occupied by the Japanese army in 1937, the hospital was destroyed and shut down.