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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. 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

Being Human: Reflections on Mental Distress in Society

By Alastair Morgan


Alastair Morgan’s fascinating text Being Human: Reflections on Mental Distress in Society is a collection of papers that brings together several different schools of thought, from forensic psychiatry to critical or post-psychiatry, with an overriding theme of the very humanity of madness.  This theme is circular – the papers in the text are humane in their approach while simultaneously reflecting on the human condition.  Human beings suffer mental distress precisely because of their humanity.  As Morgan states, the “purpose of this volume, then, is to collect an array of different voices, which, when taken together, can illuminate the subject of the interface between mental distress, mental health and the humanities, without offering any pragmatic or dogmatic methodology or declaration of intent” (10).  This book doesn’t have one dominant discoursal perspective, instead utilising historical, postmodern, philosophical and phenomenological stances to form an inclusive book that is in itself about inclusion.  Fundamentally, this book contributes to the ongoing debates around the social and cultural contexts of mental distress, issues of power in psychiatric practice and to the continuum model of mental health – that there is no clear demarcation between madness and sanity, but that all of us by virtue of being human exist fluidly, at differing points, along a continuum of health to illness.  Through this book, the processes of ‘going mad’ become not only comprehensible (for example, in John Cromby’s paper ‘Feelings, Beliefs and Being Human’) but also questionable.  As Patrick Callaghan points out in his paper ‘Artaud’s Madness: The Absence of Work?’, existent perspectives on mental health such supernatural, medical, psychological and postmodern “seek to explain the nature, or causes of madness” but tell us “little about what madness is” (142).  For this, psychiatry needs to turn towards the humanities – philosophy, history, literature and the arts, for example.  The diversity of the papers in this text – from papers focusing on historical diagnostics and practices that continue to impact upon current psychiatric formulation and care, to philosophical medications on mental distress such as those by Ian Parker and Philip Thomas, and finally papers focusing on reflecting critically on practice – means that there will be a paper that all clinicians could use.  Some are heavily embedded in philosophical frameworks, and others have a more overt relevance and application to psychiatric practice.  This book would be of particular interest and relevance to clinicians interested in more inclusive, more humane and more critically reflective practice.

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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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