Despite continued academic interest amongst historians in women’s psychological illnesses across different time periods and cultures, to date there exists no comprehensive study for early modern Britain.1 Those scholarly works that have afforded consideration of female patients and their psychological complaints for the pre-modern period have tended to focus predominantly on hysteria.2 And although it is necessary to include hysteria within any serious study of the medical diagnosis and treatment of women during the early modern period, there exists a pressing need to examine its implications for medical theory and practice alongside, rather than separately from, other types of psychological illnesses. Several scholars, including Michael MacDonald, Ronald C. Sawyer, and Katherine Williams, have

1 Examples of works that have focused on pre-modern societies include: MacDonald, ‘Women and Madness’; Risse, ‘Hysteria at the Edinburgh Infirmary’; Laurence, ‘Women’s Psychological Disorders’; King, Hippocrates’ Woman, Chapter 11, 205-46; Elizabeth A. Williams, ‘Hysteria and the Court Physician in Enlightenment France’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 35 (2002): 247-55. For the modern period, examples include: Elaine Showalter, The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980 (New York, 1985); Wendy Mitchinson, The Nature of their Bodies: Women and their Doctors in Victorian Canada (Toronto, 1991), Chapters 10 and 11, 278-31 and 312-55; Mark S. Micale, ‘Hysteria Male/Hysteria Female: Reflections on Comparative Gender Construction in Nineteenth-Century France and Britain’, in Marina Benjamin (ed.), Science and Sensibility: Gender and Scientific Enquiry, 1780-1945 (Oxford, 1991), 200-39. A number of scholars have adopted a broad temporal scope in their examinations of women’s psychological illnesses. For instance: Ilza Veith, Hysteria: The History of a Disease (Chicago, 1965); Vieda Skultans, English Madness: Ideas on Insanity 1580-1890 (London, 1979); Edward Shorter, From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era (Toronto, 1992); Denise Russell, Women, Madness and Medicine (Cambridge, 1995).