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Neo-Victorian Madness

Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media

Editors: Maier, Sarah E., Ayres, Brenda (Eds.)

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  • Compares neo-Victorian and Victorian texts
  • Studies the treatment of mental illness in contemporary works set in the nineteenth-century
  • Considers how neo-Victorian literature and film attempt to correct the past 
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-46582-7
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About this book

Neo-Victorian Madness: Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media investigates contemporary fiction, cinema and television shows set in the Victorian period that depict mad murderers, lunatic doctors, social dis/ease and madhouses as if many Victorians were “mad.” Such portraits demand a “rediagnosing” of mental illness that was often reduced to only female hysteria or a general malaise in nineteenth-century renditions. This collection of essays explores questions of neo-Victorian representations of moral insanity, mental illness, disturbed psyches or non-normative imaginings as well as considers the important issues of legal righteousness, social responsibility or methods of restraint and corrupt incarcerations. The chapters investigate the self-conscious re-visions, legacies and lessons of nineteenth-century discourses of madness and/or those persons presumed mad rediagnosed by present-day (neo-Victorian) representations informed by post-nineteenth-century psychological insights. 

About the authors

Sarah E. Maier is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, Canada.

Brenda Ayres teaches online courses for Liberty University and Southern New Hampshire University, USA.

Maier and Ayres have coedited several collections of essays. The most recent are Neo-Gothic Narratives: Illusory Allusions from the Past (2020), Animals and Their Children in Victorian Culture (2019) and Reinventing Marie Corelli for the Twenty-first Century (2019).

Reviews

“In this generous volume, Sandra Maier and Brenda Ayres gather an engaging variety of essays that offer new insights into the trope of madness that pervades neo-Victorian literature, film and television. Chapters in this collection provide fresh perspectives on a range of examples that revise perceptions of Bertha Mason, that quintessential madwoman in the attic; analyse neo-Victorian investments in nineteenth-century constructions of hysteria; queer and glamorise insanity; and explore imaginative forms of madness induced by childhood trauma. This significant contribution to neo-Victorian studies gifts us an overdue reconsideration of Victorian madness. It shows us how contemporary re-imaginings of nineteenth-century discourses on mental illness can enrich our own self-knowledge and highlights how Victorian attitudes to gender, sexuality and social hierarchy may themselves be construed as forms of madness.” (Patricia Pulham, Professor of Victorian Literature at the University of Surrey, UK, and Secretary of the British Association for Victorian Studies and editor of the EUP journal, Victoriographies)

Neo-Victorian Madness shines a light on nineteenth-century representations of mental health and sexuality and the crucial role played by neo-Victorian fiction, film and television in re-interpreting and re-evaluating classic Victorian texts.  Maier and Ayres bring together incisive studies of neo-Victorian re-readings that challenge our preconceptions.  Stimulating and utterly persuasive.” (Joanne Shattock, Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature, University of Leicester, UK)

"Neo-Victorian Madness: Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media, edited by Sarah E. Maier and Brenda Ayres, brings together two of the most innovative, influential and relevant fields in 21st-century literary studies. With creative expansion and critical engagement, the critics in this volume investigate re-visions, adaptations and legacies of nineteenth-century discourses of madness, as well as the diagnostic and treatment practices of the nineteenth century through a postmodern examination. The book is a welcome addition to neo-Victorian studies.” (Elaine Showalter, Emeritus Professor of English, Princeton University, USA)

 


Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)
  • Introduction: Neo-Victorian Maladies of the Mind

    Pages 1-25

    Ayres, Brenda (et al.)

  • “I Am Not an Angel”: Madness and Addiction in Neo-Victorian Appropriations of Jane Eyre

    Pages 27-48

    Oestreich, Kate Faber

  • “We Should Go Mad”: The Madwoman and Her Nurse

    Pages 49-72

    Friars, Rachel M. (et al.)

  • The Daughters of Bertha Mason: Caribbean Madwomen in Laura Fish’s Strange Music

    Pages 73-95

    Tjon-A-Meeuw, Olivia

  • “A Necessary Madness”: PTSD in Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club Novels

    Pages 97-120

    Ayres, Brenda

Buy this book

eBook $109.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-46582-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $139.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-46581-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Neo-Victorian Madness
Book Subtitle
Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media
Editors
  • Sarah E. Maier
  • Brenda Ayres
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-46582-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-46582-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-46581-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 308
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour
Topics

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