Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue

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9780631220893: Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue

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.

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Book Description:

Written in a lively style, this unique collaboration between a social historian & a cognitive scientist studies the case of an 18th century Scottish landowner who, regarded as a "fool", was actually autistic.

From the Back Cover:

This case study is the result of a unique collaboration between a social historian and a cognitive scientist. It examines the enigmatic case of Hugh Blair, an eighteenth century Scottish 'laird' or landowner, whose arranged marriage was annulled on the grounds of his mental incapacity. Through an in-depth study of the evidence surrounding the case, the authors conclude that Blair, who was classed at the time as a 'fool', was in fact autistic.


Writing in a lively and engaging style, the authors draw together witness statements from court records with a wide range of other documentation to set the sociohistoric scene for the case. This provides a fascinating context to which the latest theories on autism are applied.


This book will not only intrigue both historians and psychologists but will also appeal to a wider audience for its study of this compelling and deeply affecting human story.

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