This essay examines female madness in Charlotte Roche’s novels Wetlands and Wrecked as the (failed) attempt to conform to the twenty-first-century image of a successful woman who can have everything if only she tries hard enough. Saturated by neo-liberal maxims of individual agency and self-optimization, the protagonists perceive their madness to be an issue and flaw they have to manage on their own. Through the employment of a “neo-liberal madness,” Roche disconnects women’s psychological issues from the wider context in which they are embedded, failing to criticize the larger societal structures that continue to prevent German women from achieving true equality. Roche’s novels are a recent expression of the feminist literary tradition of critical madness – with the difference that Roche’s protagonists are madwomen not in the eye of society but in their own understanding.


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pp. 68-84
Launched on MUSE
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