This is the story of how we have understood extreme states of mind over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today, when more and more of our inner life and emotions have become a matter for medics and therapists. Examples range from the depressions suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties like Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. From Théroigne de Méricourt, the Fury of the Gironde, who descended from the bloody triumphs of the French Revolution to untameable insanity in La Salpetrière asylum, to Mary Lamb, sister of Charles, who in the throes of a nervous breakdown turned on her mother with a kitchen knife. From Freud and Jung and the radical breakthroughs of psychoanalysis to Lacan’s construction of a modern movement and the new women-centred therapies.
Lisa Appignanesi is a London-based novelist, writer and broadcaster. A former university lecturer and Deputy Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, she is now the chair of the Freud Museum and President of English PEN, the founding centre of the world association of writers. Her novels include the prize-winning The Memory Man, the psychological thrillers Paris Requiem, Sanctuary, and The Dead of Winter. Her non-fiction ranges from the critically acclaimed family memoir, Losing the Dead to the classic study, Freud’s Women (with John Forrester). Her books have been translated into many languages. Her book Mad, Bad and Sad has been short-listed for five prizes in the United Kingdom, including the prestigious MIND award and won the British Medical Association Award for the Public Understanding of Science. Her latest book, All about Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion has been published by Virago/Little Brown (2011).
An ICI Berlin event organized by Giovanni Frazzetto in collaboration with the European Neuroscience and Society Network (formerly European Science Foundation)
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