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This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterized descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful survey of the history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who have clarified and defined it.
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Tracing the evolution of memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, as well as the ideas of those who have clarified and defined it.Review:
"German Berrios's history of descriptive psychopathology, a tour de force of multilingual erudition, surveys the sources, provides a perceptive analysis and offers some broad reflections on the Herculean enterprise of mapping a sea of troubles...he has put us deeply in his debt with a remarkable account of the mappings of the mind through a study that transcends the private technicalities of psychiatry to shed light on the changing representations of the Western psyche itself." Roy Porter, Nature
"...fascinating book on the history of mental symptoms....A very useful, easily read, and coherent book for graduate students and professionals in psychopathology or mental illness studies." Choice
"German Berrios's The History of Mental Symptoms: Descriptive Psychopathology Since the Nineteenth Century is a brilliant tour de force....Berrios has gone a long way in filling this gap with a major work that speaks not only to historians but also to mental health practitioners and researchers." Joel Braslow, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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