Madness and the Mad in Russian Culture

Edited by Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky

© 2015

The problem of madness has preoccupied Russian thinkers since the beginning of Russia's troubled history and has been dealt with repeatedly in literature, art, film, and opera, as well as medical, political, and philosophical essays. Madness has been treated not only as a medical or psychological matter, but also as a metaphysical one, encompassing problems of suffering, imagination, history, sex, social and world order, evil, retribution, death, and the afterlife.

Madness and the Mad in Russian Culture represents a joint effort by American, British, and Russian scholars - historians, literary scholars, sociologists, cultural theorists, and philosophers - to understand the rich history of madness in the political, literary, and cultural spheres of Russia. Editors Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky have brought together essays that cover over 250 years and address a wide variety of ideas related to madness - from the involvement of state and social structures in questions of mental health, to the attitudes of major Russian authors and cultural figures towards insanity and how those attitudes both shape and are shaped by the history, culture, and politics of Russia.

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  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED OCT 2015

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    ISBN 9781487520205
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    Regular Price: $43.95

Quick Overview

Editors Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky have brought together essays that cover over 250 years and address a wide variety of ideas related to madness

Madness and the Mad in Russian Culture

Edited by Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky

© 2015

The problem of madness has preoccupied Russian thinkers since the beginning of Russia's troubled history and has been dealt with repeatedly in literature, art, film, and opera, as well as medical, political, and philosophical essays. Madness has been treated not only as a medical or psychological matter, but also as a metaphysical one, encompassing problems of suffering, imagination, history, sex, social and world order, evil, retribution, death, and the afterlife.

Madness and the Mad in Russian Culture represents a joint effort by American, British, and Russian scholars - historians, literary scholars, sociologists, cultural theorists, and philosophers - to understand the rich history of madness in the political, literary, and cultural spheres of Russia. Editors Angela Brintlinger and Ilya Vinitsky have brought together essays that cover over 250 years and address a wide variety of ideas related to madness - from the involvement of state and social structures in questions of mental health, to the attitudes of major Russian authors and cultural figures towards insanity and how those attitudes both shape and are shaped by the history, culture, and politics of Russia.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "This collection is an important contribution to our understanding of the ways in which the shifting discourse of madness offers a rich and varied lens through which to explore Russia's troubled experience of modernity."
    D. Beer
    Slavonic and East European Review/vvol88:03:10

    ‘A series of fascinating essays that approach the problem of insanity in Russian culture from wide-ranging disciplinary angles.’
    Valeria Sobol
    The Russian Review

    ‘The most comprehensive interdisciplinary survey of its kind.’
    Dmitri Shalin
    Russian Journal of Communication

    ‘A cornucopia of delights for specialists and generalists alike.’
    Scarlet Marquette
    Slavic and East European Journal

    ‘The volume is a broad mosaic ... exciting and kaleidoscopic.’
    Elena L. Grigorenko
    PsycCRITIQUES

    ‘This collection of essays is both an excellent introduction to madness and an opportunity to probe this fascinating terrain in depth.’


    Nigel Raab
    Left History vol 20:01:2016

    ‘“Madness (bezumie) is a language,” Mikhail Epstein writes in his contribution to this wonderfully eclectic and wide-ranging volume. In the Russian literary tradition, that language has enjoyed high status: it was spoken by holy fools, saintly idiots, honest citizens incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals, great poets in their capacity as prophets. In the post-Soviet period, this spectrum broadened to include de-ideologized studies of neurosis, depression, suicide, fan hysteria, shell shock, revolutionary trauma — all of which are discussed here by Russians from inside their own culture as well as by outsiders and bi-culturals. A fascinating book on that most difficult task: making cultural sense out of worlds and psyches designed to work on the far side of reason.’
    Caryl Emerson, A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
  • Author Information

    Angela Brintlinger is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Ohio State University.



    Ilya Vinitsky is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    Note on Translation and Transliteration

    Introduction: Approaching Russian Madness
    ANGELA BRINTLINGER

    PART ONE: MADNESS, THE STATE, AND SOCIETY

    1 A Cheerful Empress and Her Gloomy Critics: Catherine the Great and the Eighteenth-Century Melancholy Controversy
    ILYA VINITSKY

    2 The Osvidetel’stvovanie and Ispytanie of Insanity: Psychiatry in Tsarist Russia
    LIA IANGOULOVA

    3 Madness as an Act of Defence of Personality in Dostoevsky’sThe Double
    ELENA DRYZHAKOVA

    4 Vsevolod Garshin, the Russian Intelligentsia, and Fan Hysteria
    ROBERT D. WESSLING

    5 On Hostile Ground: Madness and Madhouse in Joseph Brodsky’s‘Gorbunov and Gorchakov'
    LEV LOSEFF

    PART TWO: MADNESS, WAR, AND REVOLUTION

    6 The Concept of Revolutionary Insanity in Russian History
    MARTIN A. MILLER

    7 The Politics of Etiology: Shell Shock in the Russian Army, 1914–1918
    IRINA SIROTKINA

    8 Lives Out of Balance: The ‘Possible World’ of Soviet Suicide during the 1920s
    KENNETH PINNOW

    9 Early Soviet Forensic Psychiatric Approaches to Sex Crime, 1917–1934
    DAN HEALEY

    PART THREE: MADNESS AND CREATIVITY

    10 Writing about Madness: Russian Attitudes toward Psyche and Psychiatry, 1887–1907
    ANGELA BRINTLINGER

    11 ‘Let Them Go Crazy’: Madness in the Works of Chekhov
    MARGARITA ODESSKAYA

    12 The Genetics of Genius: V.P. Efroimson and the Biosocial Mechanisms of Heightened Intellectual Activity
    YVONNE HOWELL

    13 Madwomen without Attics: The Crazy Creatrix and the Procreative Iurodivaia
    HELENA GOSCILO

    14 A ‘New Russian’ Madness? Fedor Mikhailov’s Novel Idiot and Roman Kachanov’s Film Daun Khaus
    ANDREI ROGACHEVSKII

    15 Methods of Madness and Madness as a Method
    MIKHAIL EPSTEIN

    Afterword
    JULIE V. BROWN

    Bibliography
    Contributors

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