Victorian Persistence Seminar, session 8: ‘Seeking Asylum: Shifting Paradigms of Psychiatric Knowledge from Victorian Novels to Patrick McGrath’

Our seminar took place on the 5th of June at the UFR d’Etudes Anglophones Charles V (salle A50, 17h-19h30):

‘Seeking Asylum: Shifting Paradigms of Psychiatric Knowledge from Victorian Novels to Patrick McGrath’

Ana Anastasescu (Université Paris Diderot) hosted the session and introduced the texts.

Ana and Jocelyn Dupont discussing the following quote: ‘No doubt, on the level of appearances, modernity begins when the human being begins to exist within his organism, inside the shell of his head, inside the armature of his limbs, and in the whole structure of his physiology; when he begins to exist at the centre of a labour by whose principles he is governed and whose product eludes him; when he lodges his thought in the folds of a language so much older than himself that he cannot master its significations, even though they have been called back to life by the insistence of his words.’ (Michel Foucault, The Order of Things)

Her respondent was Jocelyn Dupont (Maître de conférences en littérature et cinéma anglophones, Université de Perpignan): “Turning the Screw of Psychiatry in Patrick McGrath’s contemporary New Gothic”

The Williard Suitcases

Typical ward, Buffalo State Hospital, New York

We worked with the following texts:

– Foucault, Michel, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (London: Routledge, 1971), pp. 250-252. 5th june foucault

– Ferguson, Christine, « Dr McGrath’s Disease: Radical Pathology in Patrick McGrath’s Neo-Gothicism », in Glennis Byron and David Punter (eds.), Spectral Readings : towards a Gothic Geography  (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan/New York: St Martin’s, 1999).5th of june ferguson

– McGrath, Patrick, Asylum (London: Penguin Books, 1997), pp.1-2. McGrath extracts

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