Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Wilfrid Laurier University
Website URL
Victorian culture,British masculinity, psychiatry, madness, crime, military psychiatry, mental trauma
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

My recently published book Out of His Mind interrogates how Victorians made sense of the madman as both a social reality and a cultural representation. Even at the height of enthusiasm for the curative powers of nineteenth-century psychiatry, to be certified as a lunatic meant a loss of one’s freedom and in many ways one’s identify. Because men had the most power and authority in Victorian Britain, this also meant they had the most to lose. The madman was often a marginal figure, confined in private homes, hospitals, and asylums. Yet as a cultural phenomenon he loomed large, tapping into broader social anxieties about respectability, masculine self-control, and fears of degeneration. Using a wealth of case notes, press accounts, literature, medical and government reports, this text provides a rich window into public understandings and personal experiences of men’s insanity.

I recently created a SSHRC-funded digital humanities project on contrasting views of Whitechapel before and after the Jack the Ripper murders. This heart of the project is an open-access website tracing popular representations of crime, poverty, and sexuality from 1885-1895.

My current research projects explore nineteenth-century military mental patients at asylums across Britain and the idea of the “broken down” Victorian soldier.

I am interested in most things Victorian, with an emphasis on culture, gender, urban life and all things weird and wonderful.

Recent Publications

Out of his mind: Masculinity and mental illness in Victorian Britain. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022.

“Policing in the Shadow of Jack the Ripper: Myths, Monsters, and the real limits of the late-Victorian Detective,” in British Murder Mysteries, 1880-1960, ed. Laura Mayhall and Elizabeth Prevost. 2022: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mapping Ripper’s Whitechapel: Representations of a Neighbourhood in Victorian London

“Shattered Minds: Madmen on the Railways, 1860-1880,” Journal of Victorian Culture 21:1 (2016): 21-39.

“Queensberry’s Misrule: Reputation, Publicity, and the Idea of the Victorian Gentleman,” Canadian Journal of History 48:2 (2013): 277-306.

London Clubland: A Cultural History of Gender and Class in Late-Victorian Britain.New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United Kingdom
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, United Kingdom
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Medicine, Military, Sexuality, Urban History