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Bulletin of the History of Medicine Paris: Aubier, What were the assumptions and preoccupations of late eighteenth-century physicians concerning mental illness? In order to make his task manageable, he uses Philippe Pinel as his guide for the selection and rank-ordering of sources that can inform the modern reader about the debt of the eighteenth century to classical authors concerned with mental illness.

That is a good choice, for Pinel, a well-educated "man of his times" p. His acknowledgments are specific and consistent, and thus Pigeaud has but to follow his chosen guide. Pinel ranked Hippocrates highest, as his lifelong model for diagnosing patients in the context of their environment, including their home and family, and of the "epidemic constitution" prevalent at the moment of the illness.

Pigeaud accepts these choices as typical for physicians of the Enlightenment, but adds his own favorites, with comments and references—for example, Asklepiades of Bythnia and his student Themison, to whom Pinel paid little heed.

Pigeaud has obviously read every page of Pinel, whom he admires for bringing psychiatry into the purview of modern medicine. Rather, Pigeaud embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of at least a score of puzzling and controversial issues: what exactly was the relationship of Pinel to Condillac? A strange passage about methods of treating depression in ancient Egypt becomes a lengthy comparison of Egyptian versus Greek influence on modern times. This last part of the book leads to what Pigeaud calls "intimate history, tied to readings and rumination" p.

Readers who view the classics as the source of Western medical thought will find valuable references, quotes, and allusions that connect the ancients to the eighteenth century. Friends of the Enlightenment will discover a rich literary and philosophical context of medical ideas—a context heavily weighted in favor of France, whereas Pinel himself would have referred more fully to Great Britain and to the sciences, particularly natural history.

University of California, Los Angeles Notes 1. All translations in this review are my own. Dora B.


Jackie Pigeaud



Jackie Pigeaud


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