Tag Archives: mental illness

The derailment of Franklin Pierce

Jacob Appel  New York, New York, United States   Pres. Franklin Pierce. neg. from original ink by Brady. [between 1855 and 1865]. Part of Brady-Handy photograph collection. From the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Few subjects have attracted as much attention from medical historians, both well-founded and speculative, as the health of United States presidents. […]

Ada English: the forgotten fighter

Laura King Atlanta, GA, United States   Photograph of Irish Politician Ada English. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 A reformer of psychiatric care, a fighter for Irish independence, and a forgotten figure in Irish history—that was Dr. Adeline (Ada) English. As a female physician working in Ireland from the beginning to the middle of the […]

A note on medical metaphors

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Cafe au lait patches in NF1. © 1993-2021, University of Washington, Seattle. From GeneReviews. Source. When Winston Churchill memorably referred to his bouts of depression as “black dog,” in two words he painted a picture that embraced feelings, which otherwise would have taken hundreds of words to describe. I have to […]

Intersection of mental illness, the supernatural, and gender in Pakistan

Sualeha Siddiq Shekhani Karachi, Pakistan   Man with the spirit of his deceased second wife. William Hope. c. 1920 Credit: National Science and Media Museum. No known copyright restrictions. Maria sits across from me in a pristine clinic room in a private hospital in Pakistan. At first reluctant to speak about her husband’s illness, her […]

Schizophrenia in Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman and Lu Xun’s A Madman’s Diary

Janet Ming Guo Atlanta, Georgia, United States   Photograph of Lu Xun on 8 October 1936, 11 days before his death, attending the Second Woodcarving Exhibition in Baxianqiao, Shanghai. Photograph taken by Sha Fei. Circa 8 October 1936. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons. Lu Xun’s 狂人日記 (A Madman’s Diary; 1918)1 was inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s Записки […]

Prisoners on leave: Vietnam veterans and the Golden Age Western

Edward Harvey  Missoula, Montana, United States   Vietnam War – Hue, 17 Feb 1968 – US Marines Approaching Movie Theater Displays – Photo by Nik Wheeler. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS. Via Flickr. “I think we all died a little in that damn war.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales   “So…what have you been up to?” When […]

Robert Schumann’s hand injury

James L. Franklin  Chicago, Illinois, United States   Robert and Clara Schumann. By Eduard Kaiser. 1847. Via Wikimedia  The death of the American pianist Leon Fleisher (1928–2020)1 whose brilliant career as a piano soloist was upended in his mid-thirties by the development of a crippling movement disorder affecting his right hand, brings to mind the composer […]

The beginnings of humane psychiatry: Pinel and the Tukes

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Portrait of Philippe Pinel by Anna Mérimée. 1826. Public domain. From Wikimedia. “It is perhaps not going too far to maintain that Pinel has been to eighteenth-century psychiatry what Newton was to its natural philosophy and Linnaeus to its taxonomy.” -George Rousseau, Historian, 1991 Although modern treatment of […]

The legacy and maladies of Jonathan Swift

JMS Pearce England, UK   Fig 1. Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (Fig 1.) is best known for his popular Lemuel Gulliver’s: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World published in 1726. (Fig 2.) Exciting adventures combine with satirical metaphors that parodied contemporary customs and politics. Lemuel Gulliver, the narrator, begins as a modern man […]

Richard Dadd: art and madness

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Portrait of British painter Richard Dadd (1817-1886) showing painting Contradiction: Oberon and Titania. Henry Hering. circa 1856. Source Unknown. Public Domain due to age. Is there anything so extravagant as the imaginations of men’s brains? Where is the head that has no chimeras in it? . . . Our knowledge, […]