Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890

By Jenny Taylor; Sally Shuttleworth | Go to book overview

4. CHILDHOOD

PSYCHICAL DISEASES OF EARLY LIFE

James Crichton-Browne, "Psychical diseases of early life", Journal of Mental Science, 6 ( Apr. 1860), 285-7, 289-91, 303.

A leading figure in the growing area of child psychiatry during the last part of the century, James Crichton-Browne gave the paper on which this article is based to the Royal Medical Society in December 1859, aged 19, as a third-year medical student at Edinburgh University. He proposes ideas here that would be central to his later work; stressing that childhood is a vulnerable time both for hereditary and environmental reasons--children not only inherit their parents' weaknesses but are particularly susceptible to external conditions and stimulii.

When we know that the spermatozoid and the ovum convey to the progeny, in a manner as yet eluding all research, the physical and psychical qualities, not merely of the parents, but of the parents' parents for generations back, we shall easily see how necessary it is for us to consider and weigh well the characteristics and pursuits of past generations, and the influences brought to bear upon them. And here we should recollect that the spermatozoid and the ovum, not only, respectively, bear the impress of the form, gait and manners, internal qualities and construction of the respective parents, but that these microscopic bodies also transmit and communicate to the offspring the acquired tendencies and liabilities to particular forms of disease which the parents possess; we should recollect that they transmit not only general adaptations to healthy or diseased actions, not only comprehensive tendencies in certain directions, but minute and particular peculiarities and eccentricities, mental and bodily, which characterise the parents. These tendencies and liabilities, those predispositions may remain latent and concealed, but, when placed in circumstances favourable for their maturation, they may develope and become actual disease. It cannot be doubted that these may become developed, and ripened, and unfolded, as well in the womb and in the cradle, as in the strength of manhood and the second childishness of

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Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • List of Illustrations xix
  • Section I Reading the Mind 1
  • 1. Physiognomy 8
  • 2. Phrenology 25
  • 3. Mesmerism 49
  • Section II The Unconscious Mind and the Workings of Memory 65
  • 1. Associationism and Physiological Psychology 73
  • 2. Dreams 102
  • 3. Double Consciousness 123
  • 4. Memory 141
  • Section III The Sexual Body 163
  • 1. Defining Womanhood 169
  • 2. the Uterine Economy 184
  • 3. Masculinity and the Control of Sexuality 209
  • Section IV Insanity and Nervous Disorders 225
  • 1. Moral Management and the Rise of the Psychiatrist 231
  • Section V Heredity, Degeneration, and Modern Life 285
  • 1. Nervous Economies: Morbidity and Modernity 293
  • 2. Concepts of Descent and Degeneration 303
  • 3. Inherited Legacies: Idiocy and Criminality 322
  • 4. Childhood 335
  • 5. Race and Hybridity 352
  • 6 Sex in Mind and Education 373
  • Notes on Authors 389
  • Select Bibliography 413
  • Index 423
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