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This anthology contains the most affecting, finely wrought essays, memoirs, and fiction by women writing on madness. Some of the selections are literary classics, such as the excerpt from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar while some are taken from contemporary works such as Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted. Several of the essays appear for the first times.
All of these works offer powerful insights into the largely private world of suffering, and at the same time possess the elements of great literature. As a collection, these voices provide a diverse and remarkable chronicle of women struggling with madness.
Table of Contents
from The Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe (1436)
from "On Behalf of the Insane Poor" by Dorothea Dix (1843)
from Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled by Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard (1873)
from Ten Days in a Mad-House, or Nellie Bly's Experiences on Blackwell's Island by Elizabeth Cochrane (1887)
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman (1892)
"The Confessions of a Nervous Woman" by Anonymous (1896)
Letters by Zelda Fitzgerald (1940-48)
from The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward (1946)
from Autobiography of a Schizophrenic by "Renee" (1951)
from Faces in the Water by Janet Frame (1961)
from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
from The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston (1976)
from The Loony-Bin by Kate Millett (1990)
from By Her Own Hand by Signe Hammer (1991)
from Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (1993)
from Searching for Mercy Street by Linda Gray Sexton (1994)
from The Beast by Tracy Thompson (1995)
from "Black Swans" by Lauren Slater (1996)
from Willow Weep for Me by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah (1998)
"Thorazine Shuffle" by Allie Light (1999)
"Isolation" by Martha Ellen Hughes (1999)
"A Better Place to Live" by Maud Casey (2001)