Male. Education: University of Nottingham, B.A. (with honors), Ph.D.
University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, professor of English and director of the Centre for Humanities Research.
Boswell's Creative Gloom: A Study of Imagery and Melancholy in the Writing of James Boswell, Barnes & Noble (Totowa, NJ), 1982.
Intricate Laughter in the Satire of Swift and Pope, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.
The Language of D. H. Lawrence, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.
The Madhouse of Language: Writing and Reading Madness in the Eighteenth Century, Routledge (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor) Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796, Sutton Publishing (Thrupp, England), 1997.
(Editor) Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 1998.
(With Michelle Faubert) Cultural Constructions of Madness in Eighteenth-Century Writing: Representing the Insane, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), in press.
Professor of English Allan Ingram's research is concerned with insanity and writing in the eighteenth century and, more broadly, with literature and medicine. In addition to his English literature classes, he has also taught on madness and writing. Ingram has written and edited a number of works of literary criticism, including several that study patterns of melancholy and insanity in literary works. He is editor of Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1786, for instance, a collection of four entries that address the subject of mental illness. Ingram has made slight alterations to the text, but, for the most part, they remain in their original form.
Given that the diagnosis of madness could apply to many mental and psychological conditions in the eighteenth century, it is unknown if the four writers included in Voices of Madness were truly mad. In Hannah Allen's memoir of her melancholy (depression), it is obvious that she is torn by her religious beliefs and temptations, although she is not specific about which temptations these might be. In "A Narrative of God's Gracious Dealings with That Choice Christian Mrs. Hannah Allen" (1683), Allen writes of being possessed by evil forces. Alexander Cruden's "The London-Citizen Exceedingly Injured" (1739) is a protest against wrongful confinement in a madhouse, as is Samuel Bruckshaw's "One More Proof of the Iniquitous Abuse of Private Madhouses" (1774). Cruden claims to have been incarcerated merely as a result of his public rantings. He tells of his escape from his chains and egress through a window of his cell.
William Belcher describes life inside the asylum in the shortest of the four pieces, "Address to Humanity: Containing, a Letter to Dr. Thomas Monro; a Receipt to Make a Lunatic, and Seize His Estate; and a Sketch of a True Smiling Hyena" (1796). Belcher describes his madhouse as "that premature coffin of mind, body, and state." His contribution, like those of Cruden and Bruckshaw, is an account of treatment, rather than the disorder itself. Allen's account details her suffering, but also her recovery, supported by a compassionate family, friends, and medical professionals.
Lancet writer Carol Cooper, who called this volume "a fascinating addition to the history of medicine," wrote that Cruden's prose "is urgent and breathless, cramming information, relevant and irrelevant, into each sentence, so that his style is reminiscent of a patient with amphetamine psychosis. Either that, or he should be given a column in a tabloid newspaper." Jennifer Radden wrote in a review for Metapsychology Online Book Reviews that Ingram's work is "a wonderful addition to the history of psychiatry. In allowing us a source of comparison and contrast, accounts of madness and melancholia from past eras are particularly valuable, and the accounts in this volume are the more so because they were penned by the sufferers, or alleged sufferers."
Ingram followed Voices of Madness with Patterns of Madness in the Eighteenth Century: A Reader. This volume contains writings from an era when it gradually became less fashionable to attach religious explanations to cases of presumed insanity. In his introduction and annotations, Ingram attempts to draw together ideas from religion and science of the period, along with notions of suffering, to explain the ideas of reform that began to emerge on the subject of madness. People whose experiences are documented or that figure in physicians' case notes include Samuel Johnson, William Blake, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Lancet, July 5, 1997, Carol Cooper, review of Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796, p. 76.
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, summer, 1998, Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean, review of Voices of Madness, p. 553.
Allan Ingram Home Page,http://northumbria.ac.uk/ (July 23, 2004).
Metapsychology Online Book Reviews,http://www.mentalhelp.net/ (August 1, 2001), Jennifer Radden, review of Voices of Madness.