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Mad, Bad and Sad: A Historical Romance


Lisa Appignanesi’s book Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present is a romantic tour through the last 200 years of psychiatry and the feminine, although probably not in the sense you’re thinking of.


The romantic movement was a literary and artistic phenomena that emerged in the 1800s as a backlash to the rationalism of the enlightenment. They railed against science as a dehumanising force, although this view was not its most lasting legacy.


Perhaps the biggest impact of the romantic movement was to seed the idea that the scientific and the humane were contradictory and incompatible, suggesting that it is not possible to be both scientific and compassionate, rational and poetic, or objective and understanding at the same time.


These are the two cultures, of which C. P. Snow famously spoke, and applied to the mind the romantic view suggests that an interpretative psychology touches the very core of our humanity, whereas the empirical barely scratches the surface.


It’s a false dichotomy because we are neither the facts of biology nor the feelings of the mind. We are at all times, both. Each is just a shadow of the whole that, paradoxically, has no single identity.


Read in Full: http://mindhacks.com/2009/04/17/mad-bad-and-sad-a-historical-romance/



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