The Beast Within: Mental Illness in Arto Paasilinna’s The Howling Miller

Avril Tynan // Throughout the nineteenth century, degeneration theory associated certain behaviours and physical and psychological pathologies with a pseudo-Darwinian atavism of primitive traits and characteristics. One need only think of Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, and particularly his 1890 novel La bête humaine (The Beast in Man or The Beast Within), to note the parallels…

Compelling Associations: Kay Redfield Jamison on the Artistic Temperament in Manic-Depressive Illness

Amala Poli // One of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness in the world [1], Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, attempts to address a compelling association between artistic and manic-depressive temperaments through a literary, biographical, and scientific argument (5). Since the late eighteenth century, the glamorization of certain types…

(Un)fashionable Illness

Lesley Thulin // When VICE Magazine published a fashion spread that depicted reenactments of famous women writers’ suicides in its 2013 Women in Fiction issue, it was met with outrage. Some critics described “Last Words” as “almost breathtakingly tasteless,” while others chalked it up to “slouching indifference and sloppiness.” VICE’s own last words on the…

Inhabiting Inner Worlds: Narrative Threads in ‘Mrs Dalloway’

Amala Poli // Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is a modernist text that captures the preoccupations of Woolf’s time. It also draws a timeless mindscape of an individual suffering from mental illness: the shell-shocked veteran Septimus Warren Smith. This article explores some strands specific to the character and the texts that discuss Woolf’s work on…

The Indian Mental Healthcare Act 2017: A Challenging Horizon

Amala Poli // In 2017, India’s Parliament passed a new Mental Healthcare Act that sought to address several gaps and problems in the previous act of 1987. While marking a significant moment in Indian history by attempting to prioritize patients’ rights and consent, the new act raises new concerns. Can the status quo be transformed through…

A New History of Hereditary Science: ‘Genetics in the Madhouse’

David Robertson // Aided by the rapid growth of publicly available big data and internet search engines, genealogy tracing has become a hugely popular activity. But its origins are not so technologically glamorous: as historian Theodore Porter puts it, ‘The science of human heredity arose first amid the moans, stench, and unruly despair of mostly…

After diagnosis: releasing cdr_ (2013-2019)

Bennett Kuhn  //  Artist Alfred Darlington (p.k.a. Daedelus) recently tweeted What’s that thing you are still working on, that could already be considered done, but you haven’t quit on trying to perfect it, even though there is no standard to compare it against; remaining undone and no end in sight? I encountered Alfred’s words at…