Esquirol in new issue of History of Psychiatry

esquirol.gifThe most recent issue of History of Psychiatry (June 2008, Vol. 19, No. 2) features an paper about Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol written by Rafael Huertas.

Esquirol (1772-1840) is best known for being Philippe Pinel’s student and successor at la Salpêtrière in Paris as well as the author of the 1838 book Des Maladies mentales (see vol. 1, vol. 2). In addition, as Huertas puts it:

“His effort in introducing the Law on Alienated Persons of 1838 is, unquestionably, one of his major contributions to the history of psychiatric care. However, from a clinical perspective, he is considered to have merely continued and extended the paradigm imposed by his mentor Pinel (1745-1826)” (p. 123).

Huertas’ paper proposes that “the medicalization of madness began with Esquirol” (p. 135). This assertion goes beyond Esquirol’s inclusion of the term “maladies” (illness) in the title of his Des Maladies mentales by providing a re-evaluation of the methodological approaches and historical impact of Esquirol’s nosology as well as a review of his anatomoclinical psychiatric semiology. Huertas also deals with the lack of a cohesive doctrine in Esquriol’s work, a problem Esquirol was, himself, aware of: “my book would no doubt be read with greater interest if a general idea dominated all its parts” (1839, p. vi; in Huertas, p. 124).

Other papers featured in the June issue of History of Psychiatry include:

Gordon, F. (2008). Convergence and conflict: anthropology, psychiatry and feminism in the early writings of Madeleine Pelletier (1874-1939). History of Psychiatry, 19, 2, 141-162.

Smith, L. (2008). A gentleman’s mad-doctor in Georgian England: Edward Long Fox and Brislington House. History of Psychiatry, 19, 2, 163-184.

Collins, J. (2008). Joseph Schorstein: R. D. Laing’s ‘rabbi’. History of Psychiatry, 19, 2, 185-201.

Gutmann, P. (2008). Julius Ludwig August Koch (1841-1908): Christian, philosopher and psychiatrist. History of Psychiatry, 19, 2, 202-214.

Kuechenhoff, B. (2008). The psychiatrist Auguste Forel and his attitudes to eugenics. History of Psychiatry, 19, 2, 215-223.

For the History of Psychiatry Classic Text, the June issue features a paper by Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh: “How fury and lucid intervals may be proven.”

About Jennifer Bazar

Jennifer Bazar is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Her research focuses on the history of psychiatric institutionalization.