From Publishers Weekly
Does the schizophrenic's chaotic inner world resemble modern art and literature? Sass, a clinical psychologist and Rutgers professor, argues that schizophrenia and modernism display striking affinities: fragmentation, defiance of authority, multiple viewpoints, self-referentiality and rejection of the external world in favor of an omnipotent self or, alternately, a total loss of self. While the parallels he draws often seem superficial, there is much to ponder in Sass's notion that schizophrenia's core traits are exaggerations of tendencies fostered by our culture. This dense, startling work examines schizophrenic inauthenticity in light of the thought of Nietzsche, that champion of self-invention and the mask. Sass analyzes Kafka's introversion, Baudelaire's esthetics of disdain, Alfred Jarry's robotlike persona and the loss of self suffered by Antonin Artaud, a diagnosed schizophrenic. Further, he likens schizophrenics' deviant language to the prose of Rimbaud, Sartre, Beckett and Barthes. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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In this fascinating book...Sass sets out in largely uncharted directions...Displaying an impressive command of philosophical, literary and clinical literature on subjects of enormous complexity...[he] arrives at some highly original and profoundly disquieting insights. (Brigitte Berger New York Times Book Review)
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This marvelous book...provides the richest description of the schizophrenic's inner world since R. D. Laing's deservedly classic The Divided Self...An inspired documentation of the interrelationships of modernism, schizophrenia, and our current cultural life. (Richard Restak, M.D. Washington Post Book World)
A monumental, exciting, and troubling book, a new landmark in the study of the modern era. (Kenneth Baker San Francisco Chronicle)
Wholly fascinating...Madness and Modernism is rooted in a thorough knowledge of the psychological literature, but [Sass] also draws on an extensive acquaintance with 19th and 20th-century art, literature and philosophy...Powerful, lucid and original...Should revolutionise our thinking about the workings of the human mind. (Iain McGilchrist London Review of Books)
[A] brilliant study...An important contribution, not only to our understanding of schizophrenia but also to our comprehension of the nature of mental illness in general. (Contemporary Psychology)