GSFS 0302

Unquiet Minds:Gender & Madness

Unquiet Minds: Gender and Madness in Literature and Medicine (I)
In this course we will explore the fascinating intersection of gender, literature, and medicine from the Greeks to the present day, focusing in particular on the early modern period. We will consider why and how such diseases as melancholy and hysteria became flashpoints for anxieties about gender and sexuality in this period, turning to both literary and medical narratives to illuminate the troubled interface between mind and body in the social construction of melancholic illness. Alongside literary texts that dramatize mental illness (such as Chr├ętien's Yvain and Shakespeare's Hamlet) we will read sections from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy as well as the recently published account by a 17th century woman of her own private struggles with madness. We will conclude with a consideration of contemporary texts that explore the experience of madness, including Kay Redfield Jamison's memoir An Unquiet Mind and Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play. In this final section we will also explore the work being done in the exciting emerging field of "narrative medicine," which brings together literature and medicine in quite explicit and strategic ways.
Gender Sexuality &Fem. Studies
PrgGender/Sexuality/Fem. Study
Requirements Fulfilled:
Equivalent Courses:
ENAM 0302 *
WAGS 0302


Fall 2017

GSFS0302A-F17 Lecture (Wells)