Sources: For example, a madwoman in the French prison Sapetriere in 1788 could be detained for four distinctly different categories of madness; she could be dissolute, 'not considered hopelessly depraved,' condemned by the order of the king (probably for political purposes) or held by order of the court (for social reasons). Another Gothic trope, alienation, that “sense of abjection, the suspension between connectedness and separation,” is also a characteristic of mental illness. These four primitive categories of diagnosis reflect the mad-woman's distance from the 'normal' person. from politics to mental illnesses. Mental alienation Though madness and mental illness are brought together in the field of insane and excluded languages, madness and mental illness have no relationship in literature. In the short story, The Fall of the House of Usher, written by the poet Edgar Allen Poe during the romantic period, it sheds light into a time where there was much darkness, mental illness, and an overall negative phycological outlook and misunderstanding to certain societal and personal identifications. Windswept moors, crumbling towers, and maybe a ghost or two: It is English Gothic. This is also because such Gothic narratives can be read as cautionary tales — offering a social observation, reflection and warnings about what can happen when disorder, chaos and inhumanity are given free rein in the world. Thornfield, while not literally haunted, hides the dark secret of mental illness and hidden marriage, and includes mysterious, haunted-house like occurrences. Alshatti noted, for example, that when, in 1765, Horatio Walpole subtitled his novel ‘The Castle of Otranto’ (1764) “a gothic story or romance,” the elements Walpole used in this text — the “gothic castle, Catholic feudal society, damsel in distress, tyrannical patriarchal figure, labyrinthine and subterranean passages, live burials, doubles or doppelgangers” — were identified by other writers as useful and “were appropriated and deployed in multifarious ways,” resulting in the Gothic becoming defined as a genre. David Punter and Glennis Byron, for instance, use madness as one of the key characteristics of the Southern Gothic subgenre, describing it as that literature which is characterized by an emphasis on the grotesque, the macabre and, very often, the violent, investigating madness, decay and despair, and the continuing pressures of the past upon the present. The history of Gothic literature dates back to 18th century England. And if so, we ask, what is the nature of that connection, and what significance does it have for the public, patients and mental health clinicians? to explore this topic further and with other pieces of literature. Gothic explorations of mental illness are consistent with the slippery nature of Gothic meaning, in that some affected characters are viewed with sympathy, while others, such as the mad scientists, are viewed as a special type of villain. Like any theoretical system that assumes a 'normal' figure exists, this concept of madness very easily shifted all mad-people into the 'other' category, which the Gothic so often exploits to create sinister, threatening scenes. “All things truly wicked start from innocence.”. What is NOT true about Robert Walton. MacAndrew, Elizabeth. Gothic narratives also contain their fair share of lesser types of mental distress, such as depression and dissipation, although they are not termed as such. She earned her MFA in fiction from Oklahoma State University and now works as a content manager for a Boston marketing agency. > Although it was written long before the term was coined, this seems to be a brilliant depiction of a dissociative state. Pre-American Gothic Criticism In Literature 753 Words | 4 Pages. The dictionary defines insanity as unsoundness or a derangement of the mind (Webster’s New Biographical Dictionary, 1983). melancholia. It wasn't until the 1870's that scientists began to consider the notion of a psyche that could develop somewhat independently of the biological condition, and the very roots of our modern study of psychology took hold. Over the course of the development of the Gothic, theories concerning the causes and nature of madness changed. Nineteenth-Century Gothic Literature has often used themes of women held back or locked up in rooms and attics while attempting to make valiant stands and statements in support of their rights to artistic and intellectual expression, and social equality. One example of this is in Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, in which the wanderer himself describes the sensation of insanity in fine detail, saying "You will echo the scream of every delirious wretch that harbours near you; then you will pause, clasp your hands on your throbbing head, and listen with horrible anxiety whether the scream proceeded from you or them." As a literary student, you should expect to write a dissertation on this genre of literature. As Fred Botting (2002) argues, the Gothic offers a powerful commentary, as central “Gothic figures” in such narratives represent anxieties associated with turning points in cultural-historical progress and, thus, “Gothic conventions” can, as Anne Williams suggests, identify “possible fissures in the system of the symbolic as a whole.”. Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature. What is a type of mental health condition commonly seen in Gothic literature? mental breakdown—particularly in Gothic texts’ weakest female characters. In Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, the reader will discover that the unnamed narrator of the story displays obvious signs of insanity and mental illness. About | I present it in this post as one trope, but madness is explored in many different ways in both the victims and the villains of Gothic literature, and the way it is presented has changed over time. What is NOT one of the modern sciences that was once called "natural philosophy?" Hogg adds to the list, however, by also linking madness to the development of the mind and the influence of proper (or improper) upbringing. Melmoth also closely links madness and criminality, telling the sane man Stanton that "Experience must teach you that there can be no crime into which madmen would not, and do not, precipitate themselves; mischief is their occupation, malice their habit, murder their sport, and blasphemy their delight.". she was born in England. Start studying Gothic Literature. Conventional wisdom claims that gothic writers popularized and influenced the study of psychology. A Tale of the Fifteenth Century [Transcript], Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson, Home | Clare Beams, The Illness Lesson (Doubleday) Madness in Poe's Gothic tales is being studied in two ways: mental alienation and madness doesn't versus reason. Content copyright of their respective authors. ‘Vampirella’ Radio Plays as a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Metaphor. Adolescent mental health is a growing concern in the United States, with researchers estimating that between 20 and 32% of American adolescents experience a mental health problem in any given year (Patel, Flisher, Hetrick, & McGorry, 2007; Blanco et al., 2007). Madness was simply the obverse of progress. Perhaps this is why insanity crops up as one of the most common themes in Gothic literature. It promotes the study and dissemination of information on gothic culture from the mid eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. The Gothic Tradition in Fiction. Then America's Edgar Allen Poe got ahold of it in the mid-1800s and succeeded like no one else. (Hanson, 2015). Salinger (1951) Click Here To Buy. In fictional and historical portrayals, catastrophic ends … New York : Columbia University Press, 1979. While obviously not representative of all imaging of mental health treatment in contemporary popular culture, these particular narratives have also been chosen for the ways they deal with narratives of decay and chaos on both the individual and social level. Print. We provide interoperability services that connect academic research and digital visual arts that enable content authors, funders, and alternative subcultures to adopt open science. about: Maggie E Marshall started writing when she was grounded from books as a child and decided to make up stories of her own. > Mental illness, or madness, is a common theme in Gothic literature, and 'Dracula' is no exception. OAKCLIFFE HALL OR THE FATAL EFFECTS OF FEUDAL QUARRELS. Contemporary mental health settings, however, as they are represented both in this Gothic literature and in contemporary films, bear little physical resemblance to their fictional counterparts and this cognitive dissonance is, therefore, a good starting point in order to investigate whether there is there any connection in the settings represented in these works of Gothic fiction, with the settings that operate in real life. Any modern-day zombie story, detective story, or Stephen King novel owes a debt to Poe. In Gothic literature, he found a place to explore psychological trauma, the evils of man, and mental illness. Become a member and unlock all Study Answers. > In the Gothic, characters are subject to an onslaught of sensational and macabre events, and Gothic writers seem to delight in their descriptions of the mind's breaking point. There has always been a stigma attached to people with mental illnesses, even relatively minor ones such as clinical depression. Poe’s choice of writing Gothic literature focused on mental illness, tension between the individual and society, and fear as a key element of human life. My Account | little was known about mental illness. Some patients put in an asylum for minor things like postpartum depression, anxiety, epilepsy, or even lust. The art of storytelling should never be taken for granted. Hogg's narrative is startling for the Gothic reader because rather than becoming more and more clear, Justified Sinner becomes less; truth is so obscured that by the end neither the narrator nor the reader is able to discern fact from delusion. The Bride of Lammermoor, 1819 historical novel by Sir Walter Scott. This small selection — while certainly not representative of filmic representations of mental disorder and treatment — can, however, function indicatively in terms of the way the Gothic operates in such filmed narratives. Print. Throughout Gothic fiction you will find numerous examples of characters with mental disorders, many of them written at a time when little was known about such conditions. These depictions are so powerful that the horrors of the insane asylum in Gothic fiction echo across the collective imagining and into contemporary renditions (as in the Royal Perth Show example with which we opened this discussion), and it is easy to summon up images of tortured, despairing and desperate inmates suffering the cruelties of staff who are supposed to be tending to, and caring for, them. In her book ‘Fashioning Gothic Bodies’ (2004), Catherine Spooner notes “a range of characteristic Gothic themes: sensibility, imprisonment, spectrality, haunting, madness, monstrosity, the grotesque.” We can see all of these Gothic themes at work in these films, even the one that would be seem to be the most distant from these modern depictions of mental health care — the hierarchies of feudal society operating in the asylums presented. Abstract A Monster in the House: Gothic and Victorian Representations of Female Madness explores female madness and mental illness as perceived by Gothic and Victorian society over the span of three literary works: The Fall of the House of Usher (1839); Jane Eyre (1847), and The Yellow Wallpaper (1892). Irrationality and madness in this period were thought to be caused by the rapid changes in the social environment; by physically removing humans from close proximity to nature and placing them in cities, sometimes a 'deranged sensibility' would be awakened in them. Literature is a valid resource to learn more about complex issues, including mental health and trauma. Over the course of the development of the Gothic, theories concerning the causes and nature of madness changed. The International Gothic Association unites teachers, scholars, students, artists, writers and performers from around the world who are interested in any aspect of gothic culture: fiction, drama, poetry, art, film, music, architecture, popular culture and technology. The worlds of mental health treatment and addiction counselling are often despondent and difficult. In many cases, as David Punter and Glennis Byron suggest above, dark pasts of mental instability — personal or generational — haunt the present in these narratives, such as in Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (1847) and Emily Jane Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847), while another characteristic of mental illness, “hyperbole and excess” drive many Gothic dramas. Gothic Literature Dissertation Ideas: 24 Fresh Suggestions. In considering this topic, we also ask, therefore, what can be learned by a closer examination of the embedded Gothic tropes? In this, we are not criticizing Gothic narratives for their content or how mental illness is represented in these contexts as works of art and imagination, but are, instead, proposing that the Gothic is a powerful tool in the quest to destabilize influential prevailing fears and stigmatizing behaviours. The Victorians embraced the idea of the self in relationship to what is considered 'normal', then gradually changed their ideas about madness as a result of their expanding knowledge of science and evolution. People with mental illness … Josh Boyd continues this linkage of the grotesque and fearful and insanity — similarly finding that Southern Gothic fiction is “characterized by grotesque characters and scenes, explorations of abnormal psychological states, dark humour, violence, and a sense of alienation or futility.” In many cases, as David Punter and Glennis Byron suggest above, dark pasts of mental instability — personal or generational — haunt the present in these narratives, such as in Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (1847) and Emily Jane Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847), while another characteristic of mental illness, “hyperbole and excess” drive many Gothic dramas. A password reset link will be e-mailed to you. Mental illness and madness are the most obvious signs to show the Fall. New York : Facts on File, 2005. Madness became less a moral or social failing than a biological regression, in which the person slipped back in evolution to a state just before the most recent advancement, which the Victorians held was the ability to reason effectively. Although the occurrences of insanity and the supernatural may seem coincidental or unrelated, a closer examination of the culture surrounding such literature tells a different story. FAQ | This is, at least in part, due to the vividness and compelling nature of Gothic narratives, which explore enduring cultural anxieties. In the early nineteenth century, popular understandings of madness permitted two categories, according to Colley: mania, or delirium in which a patient showed “violence, tempestuous passion, and fury”; and melancholia, or what would today be called depressive disorders (13). Accessibility Statement, OAKCLIFFE HALL OR THE FATAL EFFECTS OF FEUDAL QUARRELS. At the beginning of the Gothic novel in the late 18th century, scholars were considering new ideas about human nature that considered a person in terms from his her her distance from the 'normal person', and used the term 'madness' flexibly to indicate a person's varying degrees of departure from the 'normal'. Epilepsy, which was considered to be a mental disorder and treated as such. Rosen, George. Articles that have been accepted for publication, The Monstrous Other and Virtual Vampires Transgressions. 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The physical mechanism of the body was linked to the formation of the mind, especially in women, children, and the 'lower races'. Gothic explorations of mental illness are consistent with the slippery nature of Gothic meaning, in that some affected characters are viewed with sympathy, while others, such as the mad scientists, are viewed as a special type of villain. writer of new gothic fiction, essays on mental illness, and mini book reviews. While researching mental illness in literature, one word continued to pop out – stigma. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1968. Courtesy of Wendy Fall, Marquette University. These films are also riveting contemporary popular culture narratives that are worthy of scholarly consideration that adds to that already in place. Mental illness — usually expressed as “madness” or “insanity” is, as many commentators state, a common theme in Gothic literature. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The mistreatment of the insane, and the desolate locations where the deranged are incarcerated (and there, hidden, can be neglected and abused) also often appear in Gothic texts whether in classic or modern incarnations. The Dullahan and Banshee in Irish Celtic Fairy Tales, The Gothic Horror Momentum In Graphic Novels. He uses his words to explore his own mental illness and the events that led up to its development, thus bringing an element of stark reality into the text. 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Jane Eyre, an 1847 novel by Charlotte Brontë. Lenz, 1836 novella fragment by Georg Büchner depicting the unfolding of mental disorder with the German poet Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz. Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. To investigate mental health with the Gothic, we explore contexts in which mental health is represented in order to foreground the Gothic images and tropes they contain, proposing that this can help readers to be more aware of how a sense of fear and stigma can be developed and established in such representation. Gothic literature reflects the antagonism between reason and fantasy. Gothic Archive King Lear, Don Quixote and Ophelia are certainly famous examples of earlier famous mad-people in literature. Also, Romantics are extremists. It was a common belief that anyone with a mental illness was tainted by the devil or possessed by a demon, so patients were treated as if they were. Glossary Save my name, email, and website in this browser cookies for the next time I comment. The word “melancholy” was eventually replaced by “monomania,” for “melancholy” was thought to be more poetic than precise (ly … Madness in Society : Chapters in the Historical Sociology of Mental Illness . Characters grappling with mental illness or spiritual angst are often par for the course, as are manifestations of the supernatural — or what appears to be so. Get ready for an exciting 2021 with an up and running new website, SEO Ready, Fully Responsive, plus integrated with your service of choice while publishing your articles, images, videos, and more using AE Studio! Gothic fiction of the 19th century also harkens back to the rise of anxiety, a preoccupation with mental illness, and a desperate fear of ruin, all back in vogue in our current extraordinary times. And website in this browser cookies for the next time I comment and '... About complex issues, including mental health condition commonly seen in Gothic texts ’ weakest characters... 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