Revels in Madness: Insanity in Medicine and Literature

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University of Michigan Press, Dec 23, 2004 - History - 368 pages
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"Fascinating and important . . . a work of prodigious scholarship, covering the entire history of Western thought and treating both literary and medical discourses with subtlety and verve."
---Louis Sass, author of Madness and Modernism

"The scope of this book is daunting, ranging from madness in the ancient Greco-Roman world, to Christianized concepts of medieval folly, through the writings of early modern authors such as Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Descartes, and on to German Romantic philosophy, fin de siè cle French poetry, and Freud . . . Artaud, Duras, and Plath."

"This provocative and closely argued work will reward many readers."

In Revels in Madness, Allen Thiher surveys a remarkable range of writers as he shows how conceptions of madness in literature have reflected the cultural assumptions of their era. Thiher underscores the transition from classical to modern theories of madness-a transition that began at the end of the Enlightenment and culminates in recent women's writing that challenges the postmodern understanding of madness as a fall from language or as a dysfunction of culture.

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Part 1 Madness from Hippocrates to Hölderlin
Chapter 1 Discourses on Madness in the GrecoRoman World
Chapter 2 Continuities and Ruptures in Medieval Folly
Chapter 3 Madness and Early Modernity in Shakespeare Cervantes and Descartes
Chapter 4 The latroMechanical Era and the Madness of Machines
Chapter 5 Neoclassicism the Rise of Singularity and Moral Treatment
Part 2 The Modernity of Madness
Chapter 6 The German Romantics and the Invention of Psychiatry
Chapter 7 Pathological Anatomy and the Poetics of Madness
Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis
Chapter 9 Modernist Poetic Discourses in Madness
Chapter 10 The Contemporary Scenes Affirmation of and Rebellion against Logos
Madness between History and Neurology

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About the author (2004)

Professor of French, University of Missouri.