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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

versão impressa ISSN 0104-5970versão On-line ISSN 1678-4758


REIS, José Roberto Franco. The madman of Itaguaí, history, madness, and psychiatric knowledge: historiographic dialogues about “The Alienist,” by Machado de Assis. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 2016, vol.23, n.4, pp.1095-1112.  Epub 26-Jan-2016. ISSN 1678-4758.

From the early 1970s until more recently, historiography (which is not always written by historians) has investigated the psychiatric intervention practices that prevailed in Brazil from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the early twentieth, along with their theoretical foundations and the underlying logics of power and sociability. The article analyzes the novella “The Alienist,” by Machado de Assis, by engaging in dialogue with this field. The book is interpreted as a robust and eminently critical “historical witness” of the early emergence of mental health medicine in Brazil and its institutional correlate, the asylum.

Palavras-chave : history of madness; psychiatric knowledge; literature and history; power and social control; birth of the asylum.

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