Madness and the financial institution: Bethlem in the age of revolution and republic

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Title: Madness and the financial institution: Bethlem in the age of revolution and republic
Author: Bilhartz, Jessica Lee
Abstract: Throughout its long history , the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London , colloquially known as Bedlam , has been the center of rumors of patient abuse and neglect . These rumors continue to permeate the history of madness even though recent studies have tried to depict Bethlem as a misunderstood institution which did the best it could . The truth lies somewhere between these two poles . Historical Bethlem was a place where the insane were indeed mistreated , and 1642 and 1658 were the years when abuse became the norm for centuries to come . The years of the Civil War and Interregnum were of special importance to Bethlem , marking the point when it became not only a hospital with an undeclared policy for the tolerance of patient abuse and neglect , but a financially solvent hospital as well . After the careful examination of the administrative records of the Bethlem Court of Governors for the years 1642 -1659 , this study reports that not only did abuse occur in Bethlem , but that the administration at the hospital , its Court of Governors , was aware of such abuse and preferred to turn a blind eye to patient abuse and neglect , occasionally becoming party to such offenses themselves if the price was right .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3995
Date: 2006-08-16

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Madness and the financial institution: Bethlem in the age of revolution and republic. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3995 .

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