Chapter

Sir James Crichton-Browne

Janet Oppenheim

in “Shattered Nerves”

Published in print July 1991 | ISBN: 9780195057812
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854394 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195057812.003.0003
Sir James Crichton-Browne

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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No Victorian or Edwardian alienist assumed the scientific and moral responsibilities of his work with greater confidence than did James Crichton-Browne. During the course of his career, he sampled nearly all of the professional opportunities open to British psychiatry in these decades, serving as resident medical officer at several public asylums, lecturing on mental disease at provincial medical schools, editing journals, inspecting the treatment of lunatics as a government official, and advising private patients as a fashionable psychiatric consultant. Browne's approach to mental illness revealed the uneasy coexistence of physiological and psychological interpretations that characterized the work of British psychiatrists throughout the 19th century. On the one hand, he espoused the physical model, unequivocally affirming the conviction that somatic conditions gave rise to the symptoms of mental derangement. On the other hand, Browne conceded real potency to moral means, even if their impact could only be perceived somatically.

Keywords: Crichton-Browne; public asylum; British psychiatry; mental disease; medical schools; private patients

Chapter.  14121 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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