My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum
'My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum ' Summary
Fully titled My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum, by a Sane Patient, this memoir describes its author's, Herman Merivale's, experience in one of England's countryside asylums during the 1860's. The main subject - in this case, the author - is less than justly sentenced to a facility for the mentally disturbed. Literally crazy caricatures abound, prisoner and jailer alike. Lofty psychology experts float in and out of Merivale's stay, some more respectable than others, but mostly clueless to patients' real needs. Nurses withhold or too bountifully dispense medications. Wardens rely on inhumane tactics to illicit compliance. As our writer states, this time in British history was "when imprisonment was a form of cruelty which [needed] a new name." He highlights the horrific, hopeless conditions faced by any man, woman or child with even a mild case of depression or of schizophrenia or, for perhaps the most unfortunate souls, of ill-meaning family paying hefty sums to have them committed.
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