Note: chronological periods are indicated as follows: L16 = late sixteenth century.

1. Roman World. Lunacy: Lat. Luna = moon; moonstruck [poet, lover]; Brewer (1), SOED (2). Roman beliefs included influence of moon on mental derangement.

2. Old English. Madness: a broad concept, variously from Old English, gemad = insane; Old Saxon, gimed = foolish; Old High German, gemeit = vain, foolish, boastful. By M16-L16, SOED gives mad folly, great foolishness. ‘Master in lunacy’ was a legal officer, concerned with definitions & legality of incarceration. Roget (3) offers ‘Devil to pay’, ‘hell broke loose’, ‘all the fat in the fire’, ‘pretty kettle of fish’ and other synonyms.

3. 1407 A.D. Bedlam: vocal shortening of ‘Royal Bethlem Hospital, London; a Priory since 1247, then an institution for the insane - ‘madhouse’, ‘wild uproar’, ‘a bedlam’. By 1815, moved to Lambeth, London. By 1852 synonyms (3) included: madman, lunatic, bedlamite; dreamer, rhapsodist, enthusiast; fanatic, idiot, knight errant; mash, mess, muddle; tangled skein, knot, Babel, ferment, turmoil. [see (22: Index) for Lewis Carroll’s usage of many of these]. Mad-doctor: Lat. insanus, a specialist carer of the insane, the mad.

4. L16. Insanity: Lat. insanitas = mental derangement; M19, extreme folly, irrational.

5. L18. Alienisms, Alienist: pre-psychiatric terms, now obsolete. From Lat. alienus = different, foreign, beyond society. ‘Mad-doctors’ now become ‘alienists’.

6. M19. Psychiatry: formal medico-psychological term for appropriate care, under- standing, diagnosis. L19, Psychiatrist (2). From Gk. Psyche + iatros.

7. M19. Psychopathology, psychopathologist: 1872, Charcot at Paris; 1880, Breuer at Vienna; 1886, Freud at Vienna.

8. Historical. Childhood mental disorder: the near universal historical and cultural abuse and neglect of many children, by adults and societies themselves generally with illness and suffering from spiritual and psychological alienation; together with rarer underlying feeblemindedness [‘the village idiot’] and/or other biological handicaps or disfigurement; often with prejudicial economic/social rulings, incarcerations, semi-legal dictates, as opposed to informed medical-psychological assessment and care. Exceptions at individual levels; spiritual houses, priories; 19th-cent., early pedagogy.

9. E20. Child Psychopathology: formal and directed study of childhood mental disorders; supported by credible psychological models/theory, beyond mere lay care and observation. Contrary to view of Schatz (7a) and a few others, not a significant nineteenth-century development in C. L. Dodgson-Lewis Carroll’s active lifetime, nor before c. 1890-1900, with the passing of prior phases of moral condemnation and restraint, hypnosis and suggestion, and the electro-therapy of Erb’s 1882 Handbuch.


Last modified 31 July 2016