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Madness at Home

The Psychiatrist, the Patient, and the Family in England, 1820-1860

Akihito Suzuki

The history of psychiatric institutions and the psychiatric profession is by now familiar: asylums multiplied in nineteenth-century England and psychiatry established itself as a medical specialty around the same time. We are, however, largely ignorant about madness at home in this key period: what were the family’s attitudes toward its insane member, what were patient’s lives like when they remained at home? Until now, most accounts have suggested that the family and community gradually abdicated responsibility for taking care of mentally ill members to the doctors who ran the asylums. However, this provocatively argued study, painting a fascinating picture of how families viewed and managed madness, suggests that the family actually played a critical role in caring for the insane and in the development of psychiatry itself. Akihito Suzuki’s richly detailed social history includes several fascinating case histories, looks closely at little studied source material including press reports of formal legal declarations of insanity, or Commissions of Lunacy, and also provides an illuminating historical perspective on our own day and age, when the mentally ill are mainly treated in home and community.

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The Madness of Mary Lincoln

Jason Emerson

In 2005, historian Jason Emerson discovered a steamer trunk formerly owned by Robert Todd Lincoln's lawyer and stowed in an attic for forty years. The trunk contained a rare find: twenty-five letters pertaining to Mary Todd Lincoln's life and insanity case, letters assumed long destroyed by the Lincoln family. Mary wrote twenty of the letters herself, more than half from the insane asylum to which her son Robert had her committed, and many in the months and years after.

            The Madness of Mary Lincoln is the first examination of Mary Lincoln’s mental illness based on the lost letters, and the first new interpretation of the insanity case in twenty years. This compelling story of the purported insanity of one of America’s most tragic first ladies provides new and previously unpublished materials, including the psychiatric diagnosis of Mary’s mental illness and her lost will.

Emerson charts Mary Lincoln’s mental illness throughout her life and describes how a predisposition to psychiatric illness and a life of mental and emotional trauma led to her commitment to the asylum. The first to state unequivocally that Mary Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder, Emerson offers a psychiatric perspective on the insanity case based on consultations with psychiatrist experts.

            This book reveals Abraham Lincoln’s understanding of his wife’s mental illness and the degree to which he helped keep her stable. It also traces Mary’s life after her husband’s assassination, including her severe depression and physical ailments, the harsh public criticism she endured, the Old Clothes Scandal, and the death of her son Tad.

          The Madness of Mary Lincoln is the story not only of Mary, but also of Robert. It details how he dealt with his mother’s increasing irrationality and why it embarrassed his Victorian sensibilities; it explains the reasons he had his mother committed, his response to her suicide attempt, and her plot to murder him. It also shows why and how he ultimately agreed to her release from the asylum eight months early, and what their relationship was like until Mary’s death.

This historical page-turner provides readers for the first time with the lost letters that historians had been in search of for eighty years.

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The Madness of Vision

On Baroque Aesthetics

Christine Buci-Glucksmann

Christine Buci-Glucksmann’s The Madness of Vision is one of the most influential studies in phenomenological aesthetics of the baroque. Integrating the work of Merleau-Ponty with Lacanian psychoanalysis, Renaissance studies in optics, and twentieth-century mathematics, the author asserts the materiality of the body and world in her aesthetic theory. All vision is embodied vision, with the body and the emotions continually at play on the visual field. Thus vision, once considered a clear, uniform, and totalizing way of understanding the material world, actually dazzles and distorts the perception of reality.

In each of the nine essays that form The Madness of Vision Buci-Glucksmann develops her theoretical argument via a study of a major painting, sculpture, or influential visual image—Arabic script, Bettini’s “The Eye of Cardinal Colonna,” Bernini’s Saint Teresa and his 1661 fireworks display to celebrate the birth of the French dauphin, Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, the Paris arcades, and Arnulf Rainer’s selfportrait, among others—and deftly crosses historical, national, and artistic boundaries to address Gracián’s El Criticón; Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo; the poetry of Hafiz, John Donne, and Baudelaire; as well as baroque architecture and Anselm Kiefer’s Holocaust paintings. In doing so, Buci-Glucksmann makes the case for the pervasive influence of the baroque throughout history and the continuing importance of the baroque in contemporary arts.

This edition features a new preface by the author and scholarly annotations by the translator that explicate key terms of phenomenological thought and comment on the ways in which Buci-Glucksmann integrates and extends the language and ideas of other theoreticians within her study.

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Madre and I

A Memoir of Our Immigrant Lives

Guillermo Reyes

In this moving and funny memoir, award-winning playwright Guillermo Reyes untangles his life as the secretly illegitimate son of a Chilean immigrant to the United States and as a young man struggling with sexual repression, body image, and gay identity. But this is a double-decker memoir that also tells the poignant, bittersweet, and adventurous story of Guillermo’s mother, María, who supports herself and her son cleaning houses and then working as a nanny in Washington, D.C. and eventually in Hollywood.
    In one memorable scene, after realizing that her friend Carmen is cleaning the house of one of the producers of Annie Hall, María recruits her to take her picture as she poses dramatically with Mr. Joffe’s Oscar in hand. It is María’s defiant yet determined attitude amidst her sacrifices that allows for Guillermo’s spirited coming of age and coming out.
    Their common ground is the drama of their encounters with discovery, heartbreak, and passion—the explosive emotions that light up the stage of their two-actor theater.
 
Honorable Mention, Best Biography–English, International Latino Book Awards
 
 

 

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The Madrid Codex

New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript

Edited by Gabrielle Vail and Anthony F. Aveni

“The Madrid Codex offers a new and nuanced understanding of one of the few surviving Maya hieroglyphic books, a porthole into the ancient Maya mind and a poignant reminder of how much was in a world now lost. [It is] a barrage of scholarship from leading scholars in everything from iconography to archaeoastronomy. . . . The Madrid Codex, on the basis of the impressive scholarship in every chapter of this book, now takes its place as a crucial document of this cultural ferment and fusion." —Antiquity

This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, this manuscript includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated in the Petén region of Guatemala and postdates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatán and was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico.

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The Madwoman and the Blindman

Jayne Eyre, Discourse, Disability

Edited by David Bolt, Julia Miele Rodas, and Elizabeth J. Donaldson

This breakthrough volume of critical essays on Jane Eyre from a disability perspective provides fresh insight into Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel from a vantage point that is of growing academic and cultural importance. Contributors include many of the preeminent disability scholars publishing today, including a foreword by Lennard J. Davis. Though an indisputable classic and a landmark text for critical voices from feminism to Marxism to postcolonialism, until now, Jane Eyre has never yet been fully explored from a disability perspective. Customarily, impairment in the novel has been read unproblematically as loss, an undesired deviance from a condition of regularity vital to stable closure of the marriage plot. In fact, the most visible aspects of disability in the novel have traditionally been understood in rather rudimentary symbolic terms—the blindness of Rochester and the “madness” of Bertha apparently standing in for other aspects of identity. The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability, resists this traditional reading of disability in the novel. Informed by a variety of perspectives—cultural studies, linguistics, and gender and film studies—the essays in this collection suggest surprising new interpretations, parsing the trope of the Blindman, investigating the embodiment of mental illness, and proposing an autistic identity for Jane Eyre. As the first volume of criticism dedicated to analyzing and theorizing the role of disability in a single literary text, The Madwoman and the Blindman is a model for how disability studies can open new conversation and critical thought within the literary canon.

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Mae Murray

The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips

Michael G. Ankerich. foreword by Kevin Brownlow

Mae Murray (1885--1965), popularly known as "the girl with the bee-stung lips," was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her classic beauty and charismatic presence, she rocketed to stardom as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, moving across the country to star in her first film, To Have and to Hold, in 1916. An instant hit with audiences, Murray soon became one of the most famous names in Tinseltown.

However, Murray's moment in the spotlight was fleeting. The introduction of talkies, a string of failed marriages, a serious career blunder, and a number of bitter legal battles left the former star in a state of poverty and mental instability that she would never overcome.

In this intriguing biography, Michael G. Ankerich traces Murray's career from the footlights of Broadway to the klieg lights of Hollywood, recounting her impressive body of work on the stage and screen and charting her rapid ascent to fame and decline into obscurity. Featuring exclusive interviews with Murray's only son, Daniel, and with actor George Hamilton, whom the actress closely befriended at the end of her life, Ankerich restores this important figure in early film to the limelight.

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Mafias on the Move

How Organized Crime Conquers New Territories

Federico Varese

Organized crime is spreading like a global virus as mobs take advantage of open borders to establish local franchises at will. That at least is the fear, inspired by stories of Russian mobsters in New York, Chinese triads in London, and Italian mafias throughout the West.

As Federico Varese explains in this compelling and daring book, the truth is more complicated. Varese has spent years researching mafia groups in Italy, Russia, the United States, and China, and argues that mafiosi often find themselves abroad against their will, rather than through a strategic plan to colonize new territories. Once there, they do not always succeed in establishing themselves. Varese spells out the conditions that lead to their long-term success, namely sudden market expansion that is neither exploited by local rivals nor blocked by authorities. Ultimately the inability of the state to govern economic transformations gives mafias their opportunity.

In a series of matched comparisons, Varese charts the attempts of the Calabrese 'Ndrangheta to move to the north of Italy, and shows how the Sicilian mafia expanded to early twentieth-century New York, but failed around the same time to find a niche in Argentina. He explains why the Russian mafia failed to penetrate Rome but succeeded in Hungary. In a pioneering chapter on China, he examines the challenges that triads from Taiwan and Hong Kong find in branching out to the mainland. Based on ground-breaking field work and filled with dramatic stories, this book is both a compelling read and a sober assessment of the risks posed by globalization and immigration for the spread of mafias.

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The Magazine Writer's Handbook

Franklynn Peterson and Judi Kesselman-Turkel

An expanded and updated revision of the already comprehensive first edition, The Magazine Writer’s Handbook offers insightful strategies addressing virtually every aspect of writing a magazine article for publication. Designed to be useful for both experienced magazine writers and those seeking to break into the magazine-writing industry, this handbook provides an exhaustive step-by-step approach taking the reader through every stage of the publication process. From targeting the right publication to constructing a professional article, and from dealing with legal considerations to working with editors, the revised edition of The Magazine Writer’s Handbook will be an indispensable addition to any writer’s desk. Extensively published in popular trade magazines, the authors dispense their knowledge in this handbook to help writers of all levels see their work published.

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Magazines and the Making of America

Modernization, Community, and Print Culture, 1741-1860

Heather A. Haveman

From the colonial era to the onset of the Civil War, Magazines and the Making of America looks at how magazines and the individuals, organizations, and circumstances they connected ushered America into the modern age. How did a magazine industry emerge in the United States, where there were once only amateur authors, clumsy technologies for production and distribution, and sparse reader demand? What legitimated magazines as they competed with other media, such as newspapers, books, and letters? And what role did magazines play in the integration or division of American society?

From their first appearance in 1741, magazines brought together like-minded people, wherever they were located and whatever interests they shared. As America became socially differentiated, magazines engaged and empowered diverse communities of faith, purpose, and practice. Religious groups could distinguish themselves from others and demarcate their identities. Social-reform movements could energize activists across the country to push for change. People in specialized occupations could meet and learn from one another to improve their practices. Magazines built translocal communities—collections of people with common interests who were geographically dispersed and could not easily meet face-to-face. By supporting communities that crossed various axes of social structure, magazines also fostered pluralistic integration.

Looking at the important role that magazines had in mediating and sustaining critical debates and diverse groups of people, Magazines and the Making of America considers how these print publications helped construct a distinctly American society.

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