The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

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The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Three Christs of Ypsilanti is more than the record of an experiment in the outermost reaches of social psychology. Among other things it represents, in an unpretentious but remarkably vivid way, what institutionalized madness is like.”
-Steven Marcus, The New York Review of Books

“A rare and eccentric journey into the madness of not three, but four men in an asylum. It is, in that sense, an unexpected tribute to human folly, and one that works best as a meditation on our own misplaced self-confidence. Whether scientist or psychiatric patient, we assume others are more likely to be biased or misled than we are, and we take for granted that our own beliefs are based on sound reasoning and observation. This may be the nearest we can get to revelation—the understanding that our most cherished beliefs could be wrong.”
—Vaughan Bell, Slate

The Three Christs is part meticulous log-book, part intriguing commentary and part high-voltage play as Rokeach recreates the men's interactions over 25 months. Rokeach's aim was to force them to confront ‘the ultimate contradiction’ of believing they were the same being….Reissued for the first time in over 25 years, it comes with a pithy and sensitive preface by Rick Moody, foregrounding both changing attitudes to institutional care and the problems and possibilities of Rokeach's experiment.” – The Guardian

"It also seemed to me, aged 16, that The Three Christs of Ypsilanti contained everything there was to know about the world. That’s not the case of course, but if resources were short, I’d still be inclined to salvage this book as a way of explaining the terror of the human condition, and the astonishing fact that people battle for their rights and dignity in the face of that terror, in order to establish their place in the world, whatever they decide it has to be." -- Jenny Diski, London Review of Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590173848
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 349,328
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Preface xvii

Prologue The Encounter 3

Part 1

Chapter I The Problem of Identity 19

Chapter II Who They Were 37

Chapter III "That's Your Belief, Sir" 50

Chapter IV Through the Looking Glass 75

Chapter V Days and Nights at Ypsilanti 93

Chapter VI The Rotating Chairmanship 109

Chapter VII Exit Dr.Rex 123

Chapter VIII R.I.D. 133

Chapter IX Protecting the Stronghold 155

Chapter X The Flora and Fauna Commission 173

Part 2

Chapter XI The Problem of Authority 189

Chapter XII Enter Madame Dung 200

Chapter XIII Madame God Makes a Few Suggestions 211

Chapter XIV A Research Assistant Becomes God 231

Chapter XV The Lonely Duel 241

Chapter XVI Dad Makes a Few Suggestions 259

Chapter XVII The Loyalty Test 287

Chapter XVIII Reports to Nobody 300

Part 3

Chapter XIX The Striving for Goodness and for Greatness 309

Epilogue 333

Afterword 335

Index 339

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