Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought

Jul, 2019

Book Description

The similarities between madness and modernism are striking: defiance of convention, nihilism, extreme relativism, distortions of time, strange transformations of self, and much more. In this revised edition of a now-classic work, Louis Sass, a clinical psychologist, offers a radically new vision of schizophrenia, comparing it with the works of such artists and writers as Kafka, Beckett, and Duchamp, and considering the ideas of philosophers including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. Here is a highly original portrait of the world of insanity, along with provocative commentary on modernist and postmodernist culture.

Table of Content

Part One: Introduction 
1. Introduction
Part Two: Early Signs and Precursors: Perception and Personality 
2. The Truth-Taking Stare
3. The Separated Self
Part Three: Aspects of Madness: Thought and Language 
4. Cognitive Slippage
5. Disturbances of Distance
6. Languages of Inwardness
Part Four: Self and World in the Full-Blown Psychosis 
7. Loss of Self
8. Memoirs of a Nervous Illness
9. The Morbid Dreamer
10. World Catastrophe
11. Conclusion: Paradoxes of the Reflexive
12. Epilogue: Schizophrenia and Modern Culture
Appendix: Neurobiological Considerations
Name Index
Subject Index

Author Information

Louis Sass, Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology, GSAPP, Rutgers University 

Louis A. Sass has strong interdisciplinary interests involving the intersection of clinical psychology with philosophy, the arts, and literary studies. His publications include critical analyses of psychoanalytic theory; phenomenological studies of schizophrenia; and articles on notions of truth and of the self in psychoanalysis, hermeneutic philosophy, and postmodernism. He is the author of "Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought" and "The Paradoxes of Delusion: Wittgenstein, Schreber, and the Schizophrenic Mind." He also co-edited "Hermeneutics and Psychological Theory." Dr. Sass has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J., and was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Foundation. Currently, he is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and a research associate in the history of psychiatry at Cornell Medical College. He is also a research associate in the Center for Cognitive Science and serves on the faculty of the Program in Comparative Literature, both at Rutgers. In 1998-99 he was president of the Division of Psychology and the Arts of the American Psychological Association. In 2006-07, he was president of the Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of APA.

Reviews and Awards

Highly Commended in the Psychiatry category of the 2018 BMA Medical Book Awards


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