A silent madness – Hugh Blair

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Last week’s extract was a series of diary entries showing how a clergyman sought to help a young woman with learning disabilities. Hearing the voice of the intellectually impaired can be hard for historians, but this week’s podcast does just that. Alice Hill was prevented from marrying, but we know about the case of Hugh Blair because he was married. His brother wanted the marriage annulled on the grounds that Hugh was an ‘idiot’ who did not understand the union he had entered into. An enigmatic figure, I explain how Hugh was in fact autistic: one of the clearest and earliest cases for modern psychologists. His deeply affecting story is the subject of a book called Autism in history: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue.

You can find the extract here  or you can listen to a voice extract on our soundcloud stream using the link below.

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