Author: Gillian Ni Cheallaigh,Laura Jackson,Siobhan McIlvanney
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
View: 9267Quand la folie parle presents a timely reinvigoration of the complex subject of madness and its literary manifestations. This stimulating study, authored by a range of young and talented international scholars, is of key importance in defining and refining our ongoing endeavours to theorise and analyse the literary representations of the problematics of mental health. By including discussions of texts that speak of madness as well as those that speak from madness, this volume demonstrates that, in fact, the non-sense of madness achieves a force of expression often more powerful than the usual order of logic. Embracing the scientific, the religious, the medical, the psychoanalytic, the historical, the erotic, and, of course, the properly literary, this wide-ranging, historically-informed collection is particularly significant in its exploration of both the “madwoman” and the “madman,” and exhibits an inclusiveness which extends to the genres and modes of the texts examined. The authors discussed, from Nerval and Houellebecq to NDiaye and Lê, provide a refreshingly “balanced” picture of mental illness, presenting madness or depression as a contestatory, creative stance against often mind-numbing social, racial or consumerist conventions, while refusing to play down the inevitable difficulties accompanying this isolating condition. The “dialectic effect” referenced in the title of the collection extends not only to the dynamics at work within the volume itself, as the different contributions implicitly dialogue with one another, but equally to the reader of these essays, who is engaged throughout in the debates put forward.