The Hospital of Incurable Madness: L’hospedale de’ pazzi incurabili (1586) by Tomaso Garzoni

Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (ASMAR), Vol. 26

The Hospital of Incurable Madness: L’hospedale de’ pazzi incurabili (1586) by Tomaso Garzoni

Translated by Daniela Pastina and John W. Crayton
Introduction by Monica Calibritto (Hunter College, CUNY ) 2009 | 251 + viii pp. | 1 ills. | 978-0-86698-400-3 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
MRTS 352 | $52 | £40 |

This translation of Tomaso Garzoni’s Renaissance “best-seller” provides a rich and revealing window on 16th-century views of madness, foolishness, and social deviance. Garzoni’s encyclopedic work is perhaps the most important contribution of the last half of the century to the “fools” genre to which Erasmus’ Praise of Folly and Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools also belong. Garzoni provides a spoof of academic writing on madness, with extensive “reviews of the medical literature” on certain types of madness. A final, intriguing section on the varieties of madness to be found in Garzoni’s female “patients” reveals much about late-Renaissance attitudes towards women.