This book, published in the final quarter of the 19th century, formed part of the early development of the field of psychoanalysis, and the study of mental illness. The author states in his 'To the Reader' preface that he wishes to show "how fine is the line that separates sanity from insanity, and how large is the group of persons dwelling in the neutral territory". The contents include such titles as "Non-Restraint in the Treatment of the Insane", "The Training of Imbecile Children", "Eccentricities of the Mentally Affected", "Hallucinations and Dreams", and finally, "The Suicidal Act". Written in a very accessible tone, it is clearly directed at the general reader rather than the professional - though professionals would no doubt learn a lot from reading it.
Andrew Wynter (1819-1876) was an English physician and author, and editor of the British Medical Journal from 1845-60. After training at St George's Hospital and running a practice in London, he gained an M.D. in 1853 and became a Member of the College of Physicians in 1861. A frequent contributor to periodicals, many of his articles were collected and reissued as books. As a doctor, Wynter specialised in insanity, taking wealthy patients as residents at his Chiswick home.
Our copy of the book is in good general condition for its age, bound in purple-maroon textured cloth with a 4-line impressed border and bevelled edges to both front and back covers. The cloth is faded around the spine and somewhat stained on the front, but there is surprisingly little external wear - corners bumped but not badly, some shelf wear to the tail of the spine, and more serious wear to the top, with some loss (see photo). The gilt lettering on the spine (title, author, etc) is very faded, and the spine generally sunned and stained. Inside, the front fep is missing. The half-title page and the back free endpaper and blank page are all rather browned, but the sewn binding is firm with no loose pages, and all pages are clean and only very lightly browned. Some remain uncut.