Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,882 words)

1. Definition

Insanity (Latin insania) is a term in the history of medicine and culture that has undergone dramatic changes in meaning since the end of the Middle Ages [6]. In the early modern period, it covered a broad spectrum of possible pathologies, from depressive melancholia (or melancholy) and low spirits to impaired reason and changes in one’s ability to form judgments - a spectrum that was seen as an entire complex of related illnesses in th…

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Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe, “Insanity”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 29 January 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029953>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190124

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