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January 1963

Perceval's Narrative: A Patient's Account of His Psychosis, 1830-1832

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(1):121-122. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620250125020

This is a moving and informative account by an intelligent patient of his 3 years of schizophrenia, together with his ideas about how he got that way and the happenings that contributed to his recovery.

John Perceval, a student at Oxford, the fifth son of 12 children of a Prime Minister of England, was incarcerated by his family in a private asylum near Bristol in January, 1830. He remained there for 15 months. He then was removed to another asylum in Sussex in May, 1832, from which he departed in a reasonable state of health early in 1834, at the age of 31 years. His vivid account of his asylum experiences will call up memories to those who have known such precincts. There was isolation and restraint, as well as physical abuse, and no intellectual fare whatsoever. Cold tubs and showers were not omitted in even the wintriest weather. Perceval