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Our thanks to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for funding the Madness and Literature Network. Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. The range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. Further information on the AHRC is available on their website.

This project builds on a current project with The Leverhulme Trust on the representation of madness in post-war British and American Fiction. Membership to the Madness and Literature Network is free - Please register under ‘New User Registration’. Benefits of membership include the possibility of attending our invitation-only seminars, being kept fully informed of developments in the broad field of Health Humanities here at Nottingham, and the opportunity to submit fully peer-reviewed book reviews to our database, which will be accredited to the submitting reviewer.

Please note, you are welcome to use these resources and the website for teaching or other purposes, however please do drop us a line and let us know how you are finding the site, or any suggestions you may have for improvements. Paul Crawford. Thank you.

Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English (5th edition)

The 5th edition of the Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English is available for download (PDF)

1st International Health Humanities Conference: Madness and Literature was held at Nottingham 6th - 8th August 2010

1st International Health Humanities Conference: Madness and Literature was held at Nottingham 6th - 8th August 2010. See 'Seminars and Conference' for further details.

1st International Health Humanities Conference: Madness and Literature - Conference Programme

Revealing Read

The Rapture

By Liz Jensen


Fascinating novel that seamlessly intersects themes of madness, religion, personal tragedy and environmental issues against a dystopian background.

Liz Jensen’s novel revolves around the relationship between two key – though curiously co-dependent – characters with a host of other well-rounded characters joining at different parts. Gabrielle Fox, a psychologist who suffers a life-shattering car accident, comes to work at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital – her first appointment since being confined to a wheelchair and tragically losing the baby she was carrying. Here she encounters the elusive, violent and seemingly psychic Bethany Krall, who killed her mother at the age of 14 in a bloody and violent attack. What transpires in relation to Bethany’s murderous act – I’m reluctant to spoil the narrative by giving the game away here – demonstrates that what is recorded in clinical notes rarely tells gives the whole picture of an event.  

Coming from an extremely religious background, Bethany begins to predict ecological events and pass comment on individual’s personal histories without ever having been told such details. The hospital, having sent Gabrielle’s predecessor on ‘gardening leave’ for believing in Bethany’s tales, appear keen to silence the suggestion that Bethany’s predictions are anything other than psychosis, particularly given Bethany’s lack of progress while on the secure unit – we are told that she has been involved in serious violence on the ward and had made 4 attempts on her own life. We also witness Bethany’s violence – alongside her non-psychiatric adolescent propensity towards being irritatingly obtuse and defensive – in the novel.  ECT plays a curious role in this novel, interlinking geographical science and Bethany’s predictive powers – she requests ECT to enable her to ‘feel’ the events that she predicts.

When Bethany’s predictions begin coming true, Gabrielle involves noted scientists in her case in the search for a rational, scientific answer. The novel propels the reader towards an unexpected and very moving climax, in which psychiatric certainties – indeed, scientific certainties altogether – are challenged in a realistic-while-fantastic manner. 

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The School of English Studies
in collaboration with the Schools of Nursing and Sociology and Social Policy

MA in Health Communication
(by web-based distance learning)

Meeting the challenges of communication - The MA programme in Health Communication provides a unique opportunity to investigate language and communication in various health care contexts. The course gives students a thorough grounding in the concepts, theories and research methods used in this area.

MA in Health Communication PDF Leaflet


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