Books, life the universe

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Mad, Bad and Sad

A description of me? No, a book title. Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 by Lisa Appignanesi. An absolutely fascinating read, though not an easy one. It raises more questions than it answers and provides a great deal of information about many forms of mental illness.

I thought the case histories were most interesting with information about Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe among others. It is intriguing that certain illnesses seemed to follow almost a fashion. In one era hysteria - or anything which could possibly be labelled hysteria - was most common; whereas at other times schizophrenia was the illness of the day. Sometimes it seems women were incarcerated if they did not conform to normally expected standards of behaviour.

My only criticism of the book is that it hardly mentions Jung whereas there are many pages devoted to Freud and his disciples. A strange omission.

No comments: