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085 alienists
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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085 alienists

French aliéniste, from aliéné insane, from Latin alienatus, past participle of alienare to estrange, from alienus

Alienist is derived from the same root as "alienate". An alien was originally a stranger. To alienate was to treat someone like a stranger. An alienist (in the early days of psychology) was someone who studied "strange" habits, and "aliens" came to be known as insane.

An Alienist is an expert witness in a sanity trial.  The alienist was chosen to certify Thaw's insanity, and not to analyze him for purposes of reform or change which kept him out of prison.  In chapter 11, the trial of Harry K. Thaw began and Evelyn is on the witness stand.  She was on the witness stand to prove that he was innocent even though she is the reason why he is on trial in the first place.  After her testimony alienists were waiting in the corridors to testify that he was insane.  Thaw ended up in a hospital for the criminally insane after the second trial and Evelyn ended up with twenty five thousand dollars for her divorce settlement.  

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 13:03  

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