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Hell in Contemporary LiteratureWestern Descent Narratives since 1945$
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Rachel Falconer

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617630

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617630.001.0001

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Katabatic Memoirs of Mental Illness

Katabatic Memoirs of Mental Illness

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 5 Katabatic Memoirs of Mental Illness
Source:
Hell in Contemporary Literature
Author(s):

Rachel Falconer

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617630.003.0006

This chapter is concerned with the autobiographical or semi-autobiographical accounts of mental illness written by recovered writers/patients, who frame their experiences of mental illness within the narrative structure of a descent into and a return from Hell. These stories present very different accounts of the experience than those of the leading theorists of madness, and also show that the return from Hell does not need to be a matter of choice between postmodern self-doubt and Cartesian self-certainty. The chapter also discusses the classical descent narrative.

Keywords:   mental illness, autobiography, semi-autobiography, theorists of madness, postmodern self-doubt, Cartesian self-certainty, classical descent narrative

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