In 18th-century Britain, the medical profession began to pay attention to the minor psychiatric disturbances of educated and polite society. Rather as neurosis became fashionable in fin-de-siecle Vienna, "nerves" became a highly eligible illness in early Georgian London and Bath. What Freud was for Vienna, George Cheyne was for 18th-century fashionable ailments. He above all was responsible for developing and popularizing the notion that abnormalities of mood and thought were due - not as traditionally thought to diabolical forces or the "humours" - but to physiological defects of the nervous system. To explain how the nervous system collapsed, Cheyne spelt out a critique of modern, high pressure urban society which in many ways prefigured Rousseau and also Freud's "Civilisation and its Discontents". Although an important figure, Cheyne has been little studied. No scholarly reprint exists of his major thematic work, "The English Malady". This edition, prefaced by a substantial introduction by Roy Porter, aims to contextualize the work in respect of 18th-century medicine, culture and society.