A PIONEERING WORK IN PSYCHIATRY: CHEYNE'S ENGLISH MALADY, 1733, THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT BOOK ON NEUROSES
CHEYNE, George. The English Malady: or, a Treatise of Nervous Diseases of all Kinds, as Spleen, Vapours, Lowness of Spirits, Hypochondriacal and Hysterical Distempers, &c. London: G. Strahan and J. Leake, 1733. Octavo, modern full dark brown morocco, raised bands. $2700.
First edition of one of the most influential early books on what was to become the discipline of psychiatry, probably the most widely read and influential English language book on the subject in the 18th century.
"Cheyne's term 'English malady' refers to depression, the causes of which Cheyne listed as moist air, the variable English climate, too much meat and alcohol, sedentary habits and overcrowding. Among the clinical illustrations Cheyne included his own case, which he cured by purges, a milk and vegetable diet and the study of religious writings. Cheyne's work inspired an interest in England in exploring the metaphysical relationship between mind and body" (Norman 471). Cheyne was a celebrated and popular young London physician, and this, his most enduring work, "was highly eulogized by Samuel Johnson, who had much reason to be a good judge of such a work" (DNB). "Like many authors on nervous diseases of the depressive kind, Cheyne wrote from personal experience… He described how difficult it was— as it still is— to explain the nature of their illness to patients and relatives, for 'nervous distempers' were even then 'under some kind of disgrace and imputation'" (Hunter & MacAlpine, 351). Garrison-Morton 4840. Osleriana 2304. Bibliotheca Walleriana 1950. Early owner signature on title page, dated 1768; also on dedication page and first page of table of contents.
Moderate foxing to text; morocco binding attractive and fine.