The problem of madness has preoccupied Russian thinkers since the beginning of Russia's troubled history and has been dealt with repeatedly in literature, art, film, and opera, as well as medical, political, and philosophical essays. Madness has been treated not only as a medical or psychological matter, but also as a metaphysical one, encompassing problems of suffering, imagination, history, sex, social and world order, evil, retribution, death, and the afterlife.
Madness and the Mad in Russian Culture represents a joint effort by American, British, and Russian scholars - historians, literary scholars, sociologists, cultural theorists, and philosophers - to understand the rich history of madness in the political, literary, and cultural spheres of Russia. Editors Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky have brought together essays that cover over 250 years and address a wide variety of ideas related to madness - from the involvement of state and social structures in questions of mental health, to the attitudes of major Russian authors and cultural figures towards insanity and how those attitudes both shape and are shaped by the history, culture, and politics of Russia.
|Publisher:||University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division|
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About the Author
Angela Brintlinger is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Ohio State University.
Ilya Vinitsky is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
Note on Translation and Transliteration
Introduction: Approaching Russian Madness
PART ONE: MADNESS, THE STATE, AND SOCIETY
1 A Cheerful Empress and Her Gloomy Critics: Catherine the Great and the Eighteenth-Century Melancholy Controversy
2 The Osvidetel’stvovanie and Ispytanie of Insanity: Psychiatry in Tsarist Russia
3 Madness as an Act of Defence of Personality in Dostoevsky’sThe Double
4 Vsevolod Garshin, the Russian Intelligentsia, and Fan Hysteria
ROBERT D. WESSLING
5 On Hostile Ground: Madness and Madhouse in Joseph Brodsky’s‘Gorbunov and Gorchakov'
PART TWO: MADNESS, WAR, AND REVOLUTION
6 The Concept of Revolutionary Insanity in Russian History
MARTIN A. MILLER
7 The Politics of Etiology: Shell Shock in the Russian Army, 1914–1918
8 Lives Out of Balance: The ‘Possible World’ of Soviet Suicide during the 1920s
9 Early Soviet Forensic Psychiatric Approaches to Sex Crime, 1917–1934
PART THREE: MADNESS AND CREATIVITY
10 Writing about Madness: Russian Attitudes toward Psyche and Psychiatry, 1887–1907
11 ‘Let Them Go Crazy’: Madness in the Works of Chekhov
12 The Genetics of Genius: V.P. Efroimson and the Biosocial Mechanisms of Heightened Intellectual Activity
13 Madwomen without Attics: The Crazy Creatrix and the Procreative Iurodivaia
14 A ‘New Russian’ Madness? Fedor Mikhailov’s Novel Idiot and Roman Kachanov’s Film Daun Khaus
15 Methods of Madness and Madness as a Method
JULIE V. BROWN
What People are Saying About This
‘“Madness (bezumie) is a language,” Mikhail Epstein writes in his contribution to this wonderfully eclectic and wide-ranging volume. In the Russian literary tradition, that language has enjoyed high status: it was spoken by holy fools, saintly idiots, honest citizens incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals, great poets in their capacity as prophets. In the post-Soviet period, this spectrum broadened to include de-ideologized studies of neurosis, depression, suicide, fan hysteria, shell shock, revolutionary trauma — all of which are discussed here by Russians from inside their own culture as well as by outsiders and bi-culturals. A fascinating book on that most difficult task: making cultural sense out of worlds and psyches designed to work on the far side of reason.’