Edited By Chris Mounsey and Stan Booth
Laughing about and Talking about the Idiot in the Eighteenth Century
The position of the ‘idiot’ in eighteenth-century public discourse cannot be dismissed as marginalized and liminal. Idiots lived before the eyes and in the minds of their communities. They were often the butt of jokes and mocked in slang language, but in an age where raillery and ‘rattle’ (mockery) were valued and universally applied to all sectors of society, this was more a signal of community visibility than an indicator of objectification. In this period, to be seen as lacking in mental faculty was not an inevitable precursor to social exclusion, as it would become in the nineteenth century.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.