Friday, December 9, 2011

Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum by Mark Stevens

Now here is a first!  I am featuring a book that is not a classic.  But don't worry, it is based on classic material and I thought it was a classic when I downloaded it.  So, I am not switching gears, but will continue to present pre-1923 classics with perhaps this as the only exception.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition)

Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum by Mark Stevens is a collection of stories or rather essays that he has put together from the archives of Broadmoor Hospital.  It is not only not pre-1923, it was published November, 2011!

Stevens has a lengthy and readable essay at the beginning explaining the Victorian idea of law and insanity and what constituted insanity at that time.  Of course he also goes into detail on the origins of Broadmoor, which was for the criminally insane.  After the essay, he launches into sketches of a few of the residents, drawing largely on their records.
The most celebrated Victorian female patient at Broadmoor has been remembered for the cause of her admission rather than any wider social impact. This is perhaps a reflection on how scandalous women fulfilled the voyeuristic delight of Victorian society. For Christiana was a woman who satisfied certain stereotypes, and her story included sex and murder. The tabloids christened Christiana 'The Chocolate Cream Poisoner'.
You will have to read more to find out her recipe.

There is a chapter on babies born in the institution, in this case the child is born after a patient escaped and went home to her husband for a month.
The mother did not ask to see her child until a week after the birth, and it was not until two months had passed that she was finally allowed to see him. Their first, and almost certainly only meeting was not a success. Catherine behaved strangely with little Stephen, placing him on his legs to see if he would walk already and otherwise acting that he was older than a newborn, and the boy was taken away from her again on the same day, this time for good.
And from another essay:
'Escape from Broadmoor' is actually the title of a post-war British short, starring John Le Mesurier as the patient on the run. The film has nothing to do with the real-life Broadmoor, but the existence of the film title is good evidence of the fear that an escaped lunatic can cause to the wider community. This has been true of Broadmoor since it opened. Of course, whenever there is an element of coercion to keep people in one place, there will inevitably be some whose thoughts turn to being elsewhere.
How nicely put!  It may not be classic yet, but perhaps in 100 years, it will be.

This blog is a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the US & UK Kindle. If you enjoy my suggestions, please tell your friends who read to give my blog a try. 
Join me on Twitter, FaceBook, or Pinterest.


For a nominal fee of 99 cents/pence, you can subscribe to this blog and have it automatically download on your Kindle. This gives you the convenience of being able to download the books directly to your Kindle, instead of downloading them to your computer and then transferring them to your Kindle. It also helps support my blog.

UK readers may go to this Amazon link to subscribe.  (Slightly more than half my readers are from the UK)

US readers may go to this Amazon link

Thank to all my readers, whether you subscribe on your Kindle or whether you read it online.  I love to get good reviews!  Who wouldn't?  Should you care to leave a review, follow these links for UK readers or US readers.
I'm reading: Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum by Mark StevensTweet this!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.