The Cost of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: Public, Voluntary and Private Asylum Care by Alice Mauger is an original and important contribution to the literature of asylum history in Britain and Ireland. Whilst the history of the pauper insane and the public asylums which accommodated them has been the focus of much assiduous scholarly research and wider public interest, the social and economic organisation of asylum care for nineteenth-century middle and upper-class patients has attracted much less attention, particularly in the Irish and Scottish contexts. In this comparative analysis of Ireland's different asylum sectors, Mauger argues that the political, social and economic structures of Ireland and Britain diverged in several significant respects leading to the creation ‘of a uniquely Irish institutional framework’ (p. 2). This provides a novel contribution to historians' attempts to understand the asylum system in nineteenth-century Ireland which, as Mauger explains with great clarity, was composed of...
- Medicine (miscellaneous)