A History of Delusions

Pages: 304
Subject: History, Psychology
Imprint: Oneworld

A History of Delusions

The Glass King, a Substitute Husband and a Walking Corpse

Victoria Shepherd

The extraordinary ways the brain can misfire
9780861540914 (2 Jun 2022)
RRP £16.99 / US$27.00

The Book

Why would someone wake up and claim they're Napoleon?

Or believe they have been turned into a wolf and demand to be fed raw meat? For centuries, we've dismissed delusions as a problem for the shrinks to sort out in distant asylums.

But delusions are more than just bizarre case studies - they tell stories of collective anxieties and traumas. In this groundbreaking history, Victoria Shepherd explores delusions from ancient times to present and implores us to identify reason in apparent madness. Isn't it perfectly understandable to believe you've got the wrong head when the guillotine takes the heads of hundreds every day? Who cannot sympathise with the man who believes he is already dead, when all his comrades died in the battlefields?

We all have it in us to become delusional. In understanding delusions, we come closer to understanding ourselves.

Additional Information

Subject History, Psychology
Pages 304
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Victoria Shepherd conceived and produced the ten-part series A History of Delusions for BBC Radio 4. She has produced scores of documentaries and major strands for BBC Radio 4; she is also a writer, with an M.A. in creative writing from the University of East Anglia.