Out of Her Mind by Rebecca Shannonhouse
Women Writing on Madness (Modern Library)

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Ever since doctors first labeled their female patients "hysterical," women have occupied a unique place in the world of mental illness. Whether harboring a dark mood or suffering from a crippling mental illness, such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or manic depression, a select few of these women have deftly rendered the psychological turmoil that has touched their lives in writing that ranks among the most intriguing and emotionally compelling in American literature.

In this anthology-the first of its kind Rebecca Shannonhouse has collected the most affecting, finely wrought essays, memoirs, and fiction by women writing on madness. Some of the selections in this volume are literary classics, such as Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and an excerpt from Sylvia Plath's The Belljar. Several selections are taken from contemporary works, including Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted and Lauren Slater's "Black Swans." Still others are published here for the first time, most notably several letters written by Zelda Fitzgerald during her stays in a mental hospital. All these works offer powerful insights into the largely private world of emotional suffering, and at the same time possess the elements of great literature. As a collection, these voices provide a diverse and remarkable chronicle of women struggling with madness.

About Rebecca Shannonhouse

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Rebecca Shannonhouse is a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, and other publications. She lives in New York City.
Published February 1, 2000 by Modern Library. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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As excerpts from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Mary-Jane Ward’s The Snakepit, and Light’s —Thorazine Shuffle— show, doctors, nurses, and therapists seem hardly more enlightened: Patients could not refuse medication even if it made them feel terrible, and, as part of her therapy, Light had to walk ...

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