Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors (Paperback)
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“[A work of] wit, wisdom and richness. . . . A grand tour of derangement, from matricide to anorexia.” —John Leonard, Harper’s
This fascinating history of mind doctors and their patients probes the ways in which madness, badness, and sadness have been understood over the last two centuries. Lisa Appignanesi charts a story from the days when the mad were considered possessed to our own century when the official psychiatric manual lists some 350 mental disorders. Women play a key role here, both as patients—among them Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Marilyn Monroe—and as therapists. Controversially, Appignanesi argues that women have significantly changed the nature of mind-doctoring, but in the process they have also inadvertently highlighted new patterns of illness.
About the Author
Lisa Appignanesi, is the author of Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors and All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion. A prize-winning novelist and writer, she is the president of English PEN. She lives in London.
Ambitious . . . brilliant . . . a powerhouse of a book.
— Daphne Merkin - New York Sun
Fascinating. . . . A meticulous and exhaustive account.
— Kathryn Harrison - New York Times Book Review
Sophisticated, vigorously written, full of striking subtexts . . .an entertaining and well-researched book that avoids easy answers.
— Andrew Scull - Times Literary Supplement