Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $2.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 96%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $2.00   
  • New (4) from $38.06   
  • Used (4) from $1.99   


This engaging story of an eighteenth century Scottish laird whose brief arranged marriage was annulled on the grounds of his mental capacity - which seen through modern eyes can be identified as autism. It is a story of villainy and innocence, and provides a fascinating historical context to which the latest theories on autism are applied.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a comprehensive history, charting thinking, practice andtheories from the late 1930s to the present day . . . Recommended -a much-needed addition to the autism library." (CommunicationMagazine, 1 April 2011)

"I found this book utterly absorbing and utterly convincing. Therichness of historical detail - testimonies and actualinterrogations - and its telling hold one like a novel. The minutesifting of the evidence is in the best historico-clinicaltradition, weighing everything carefully, never overstating orpushing. The interest spreads in all directions - about the way thelaw, the culture, and ordinary people thought of mental incapacityor madness in the eighteenth century. I think Autism inHistory will be extremely valuable in many different ways."Oliver Sacks M.D. Author of Awakenings

"The authors guide us through the case with an expert hand, in abook written for a wide range of non-specialist readers. What'smore, the book constitutes a unique introduction to autism,presenting both its scientific and clinical aspects, as well as theperson and their social circumstances. A stimulating read."Infancia y Aprendizaje, vol 24(2), 2001.

"Rab Houston and Uta Frith provide a splendid case study ofprobably autism from eighteenth-century Scotland. Houston and Frithare to be congratulated in their synthesis of the evidence for HughBlair of Borgue being a case of autism in history. They have doneso in a manner and style that is as cautious as it is thorough."Stephen Jones, Norfolk Mental Health Care Trust, Social Historyof Medicine, vol 14 (2), 2001.

"This is a fascinating book." RH Campbell, Transactions, Vol75, 2001

"In presenting Hugh Blair, a member of the landowning class ineighteenth-century Scotland, Autism in History demonstratesa refreshing lack of squeamishness ... Although Houston and Frithconclude confidently that they are looking at a case of the samecondition we now call autism, they remain sensitive to the waysthat historical conditions could influence the perception orpresentation of the disorder. In addition, Houston and Frith amassconvincing data to show that Blair was, in fact, autistic. It mightbe possible to quibble with their retrospective diagnosis, but theymake a highly plausible case." Jonathan Sadowsky, CasteleAssociate Professor of Medical History, Case Western ReserveUniversity, Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences,Fall 2003

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631220893
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/27/2000
  • Series: History Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Rab Houston is Professor of Early Modern History at theUniversity of St Andrews. He has extensive research experience inthe social history of Britain and Europe in the early modernperiod. Best known for his work on seventeenth andeighteenth-century Scotland, his published books include Madnessand Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland.

Uta Frith is a Professor of Cognitive Development atUniversity College of London and Deputy Director of the Instituteof Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College of London. Shehas pioneered investigations into the mind of the individual withautism and has a keen interest in the impact of the disorder onboth sufferer and carers. Her book, Autism: Explaining the Enigmahas been translated into many languages.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Plates.


1. The Background to the Study.

2. The Life and Times of Hugh Blair.

3. Understanding Mental Incapacity in the Past.

4. Autism and its Relevance to the Case of High Blair.

5. Reading the Court Case as a Clinical Case.

6. Historical-clinical Approach to the Case of Hugh Blair.


Glossary of Historical Terms.

Glossary and Topics in Autism.

Further Historical Reading.

Further Reading on Autism.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)