New Disciplines, New Masculinities In 1800 approximately 5000 patients were con ned in British lunatic asylums. By 1900 the total had leapt to 100,000.1 Popular conceptions of madness in Victorian culture were, and are still, closely entwined with femininity , with nervous women in general and hysterical ones in particular being understood as archetypal asylum patients. Exploring a range of archival material, this chapter reveals that far higher numbers of male patients resided in public and private lunatic asylums than has previously been suggested. In addition, doctors’ case notes paint a picture of mental illness which is just as connected with male gender roles as female ones. e age of the asylum coincided in the nineteenth century with a thorough interrogation of masculinity , centring on what it meant to be a man in a rapidly changing industrial society, and how manliness di ered from womanliness in biological, psychological, and behavioural terms. omas Carlyle’s ‘Characteristics’ (1831) sums up the broad, cultural sense that old models of ideal masculinity had become irrelevant, leaving a gaping hole in the gender identity of half the population:

e old ideal of Manhood has grown obsolete, and the new is still invisible to us, and we grope a er it in darkness, one clutching at this phantom, another that; Werterism, Byronism, even Brummelism, each has its day.2