Living with madness 1: an apprentice in danger, 1738

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Most people with mental disorders are more of a liability to themselves than to others. The same cannot be said of this podcast and the next one, where the threat or reality of physical harm at the hands of a mad person seems to have been very real. Early modern apprentices were different from modern ones because they lived as well as worked with their master in a sort of family arrangement. One unlucky apprentice petitioned London magistrates to allow him to leave the service of an employer who seems to have been erratic, controlling, threatening, and violent. The case shows how lay public opinion in the past could be just as important as professional medical certification, in identifying mental disorder.

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

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