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Why Fiction Matters to Madness

Stone, Brendan (2008) Why Fiction Matters to Madness. In: Narrative and Fiction: an Interdisciplinary Approach. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 71-77.

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      My thesis in this paper is that in ‘fiction’, or to be more precise, in metaphorical, poetic modes of signification, there may inhere great value, even therapeutic value, to the individual who is attempting to survive the depredations of intense distress. Moreover, my argument is that for the self to speak of its own experiences of madness and trauma there may be an imperative – an imperative necessary to survival as a self – to step outside the constraints of a purely informational mode of discourse. Such a modality of speech is very familiar to those of us who use mental health services. It is a discursive mode sanctioned by authority, a discursive mode which surrounds us, interpellates us, even before we begin to speak, a mode which translates the extraordinary, the bizarre and the profoundly disorientating into the medicalised language of diagnosis, prognosis, symptoms, and treatment. Within this discursive realm, experience which challenged rationality and conventional narrative framings of the world is remade, and through this remaking is changed beyond recognition. These medicalised, positivistic modes of speaking about experience may be, I want to argue, not only inadequate, but actually harmful to the individual employing them.

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Copyright for chapters remain with individual authors at all times and permission should be sought from the author for any reproduction other than for personal use.
      Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences > Narrative and Memory Research Group > Narrative and Memory Research Group Annual Conference
      School of Human and Health Sciences
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      Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
      Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2009 16:55
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:07


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