Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

  • The literary breakdown in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

    Carol-Ann FarkasBoston, Massachusetts, United States I. Diagnostically speaking, the “nervous” or “mental” breakdown is not a thing. The term has never been formally used in psychology, which has long preferred specific, definable categorizations of symptoms and conditions: stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, trauma.1 And yet the phenomenon persists in popular usage.1,2 Why? We like the “breakdown”…

  • Nikolai Gogol’s The Diary of a Madman

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809–1852) was a member of the first wave of great Russian authors of the nineteenth century. Born in a Ukrainian Cossack village then part of the Russian Empire, he made his way to Saint Petersburg where he found his métier in the short story; a genre…

  • Mental health in Michel Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic and the limits of medical positivism

    Taylor Tso St. Louis, Missouri, United States    The Madhouse (Casa de locos). Painting by Francisco de Goya. In The Birth of the Clinic, Michel Foucault traces the history of our present-day understanding of disease. One of the most significant and more recent problems this understanding had to confront was the pre-nineteenth century outlook that…

  • Alden Nowlan, the schizotypal poet

    Shane Neilson Hamilton, Ontario, Canada   I suspect a psychiatrist would have pronounced me a victim of dementia praecox or some such thing1 – Alden Nowlan   Applying a psychiatric diagnosis to the dead is a mug’s game. Alden Albert Nowlan (1933–1983), the critically acclaimed Canadian poet, novelist, and playwright, might agree, if one considered…