Download Revels in Madness: Insanity in Medicine and Literature by Allen Thiher PDF

By Allen Thiher

"Fascinating and critical . . . a piece of prodigious scholarship, overlaying the full background of Western idea and treating either literary and scientific discourses with subtlety and verve."---Louis Sass, writer of insanity and Modernism"The scope of this ebook is daunting, starting from insanity within the historic Greco-Roman international, to Christianized thoughts of medieval folly, during the writings of early sleek authors reminiscent of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Descartes, and directly to German Romantic philosophy, fin de si?cle French poetry, and Freud . . . Artaud, Duras, and Plath."---Isis"This provocative and heavily argued paintings will gift many readers."---ChoiceIn Revels in insanity, Allen Thiher surveys a awesome variety of writers as he exhibits how conceptions of insanity in literature have mirrored the cultural assumptions in their period. Thiher underscores the transition from classical to fashionable theories of madness-a transition that all started on the finish of the Enlightenment and culminates in contemporary women's writing that demanding situations the postmodern figuring out of insanity as a fall from language or as a disorder of tradition.

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Extra info for Revels in Madness: Insanity in Medicine and Literature (Corporealities: Discourses of Disability)

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1370-1450). Living his madness as a the- ological test, he seems to be the first European to write about his personal experience of insanity, or at least the first of whom we have record. Hoc- cleve is of singular value for his demonstration that a poet lives his madness in conformity with the explanatory model that his era offers him. " And then to dramatize the process of insanity Hoccleve uses a metaphor that has found much favor with writers attempting to explain the inner experience of madness.

My deepest intuition, based on a fondly nourished experi- Discourses on Madness in the Greco-Roman World * 31 ence of comedy ranging from Aristophanes through Harpo Marx, is that comedy is the genre that takes madness in hand and momentarily socializes it. Comedy exhibits madness within the confines of an aesthetic structure- on a stage, a screen, or within a book-and thus brings it into the purview of logos. Tragedy demands an ultimate exclusion of deviance, usually in the form of destruction.

Tiresias and Pentheus confront each other and exchange mutual accusations of insanity. In this agon they embody the dialectic in which each side claims reason, though reason for one is madness for the other. From one perspective, Pentheus is guilty of hubris, since in his scorn for the "girl faced" god he is guilty of the pride that leads to a break in logos. But from the opposing perspective-one that Euripides clearly suggests- there is no harmony or just measure in Pentheus's fate. Dionysus tricks Pentheus into observing the bacchantes in their revels, and, when they dis- cover him, the women tear him into shreds.

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