Anna Harpin & Juliet Foster, eds., Performance, Madness and Psychiatry: Isolated Acts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
This exciting collection of interdisciplinary essays explores the complex area of madness and performance. The book spans from the 18th century to the present and unearths the overlooked history of theatre and performance in, and about, psychiatric asylums and hospitals. Performance, Madness and Psychiatry will appeal to historians, social scientists, theatre scholars, and artists alike. It features interviews, archival research, and academic analysis of this rich and diverse area of theatrical and psychiatric history. The book departs from a set of questions regarding the role and nature of theatre both within asylums and hospitals as well as beyond these spaces. The authors pause over questions of environment, architecture, politics, language, performance and power and try to illuminate the interrelations between madness and theatre in a number of periods and health contexts. This eclectic volume attempts to examine some varied voices that collectively challenge the dominant orthodoxies of psychiatry. In this sense the book argues that madness matters.