James Dunk reviews 'The Man Who Thought He was Napoleon' by Laure Murat

James Dunk reviews 'The Man Who Thought He was Napoleon' by Laure Murat

The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Toward a Political History of Madness

by by Laure Murat

University of Chicago Press (Footprint), $79 hb, 304 pp, 9780226025735

In 1798, during the revolutionary wars on the European mainland, the Irish rebelled. Though they were supported militarily by the French Republic, it was the ideas heralded by the Revolution that gave real strength to their cause. A decade later, in Dublin, William Hallaran argued in hisAn Enquiry Into the Causes Producing the Extraordinary Addition to the Number of Insane that much of the increase should be attributed to the rebellion. Fifteen per cent of cases where causes could be identified were linked directly with the rebellion, but its effects were writ large in the rest of the catalogue: loss of property, drunkenness, religious zeal, disappointment, and grief.

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Published in March 2015, no. 369
James Dunk

James Dunk

James Dunk is a historian and writer living in Sydney. His doctoral thesis was a study of madness in colonial Australia.

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