Women, Madness and Spiritualism
Edited by Bridget Bennett, Helen Nicholson, Roy Porter
Introduction by Bridget Bennett, Helen Nicholson
Routledge – 2003 – 880 pages
Series: History of Feminism
This set reproduces seminal writings by three exceptional nineteenth-century women. Georgina Weldon, Louisa Lowe and Susan Willis Fletcher were certified as insane by the Victorian medical establishment and were threatened with incarceration for their eccentric and transgressive behaviour. All three were remarkably resourceful and very successfully manipulated the sensationalist press to expose the 'lunacy laws' to the late-Victorian public. In doing this, they contributed to the emerging feminist critique of medicine and science. Each volume is devoted to the work of one of these exceptional women.
New introductions by the editors and the late Roy Porter provide context and discussion of the pieces included, pointing to the themes and issues that they raise. With an extensive index, this collection provides an invaluable resource for those studying the role of feminism in the history of medicine and the power of the medical profession in the Victorian era.