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What is Madness ?
Dr. Gerald Libby
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“What is Madness?” is Darian Leader’s probing study of madness, sanity, and everything in between. What separates the sane from the mad? How hard or easy is it to tell them apart? And what if the difference is really between being mad and going mad? In this landmark work Darian Leader undermines common conceptions of madness. Through case studies like the apparently ‘normal’ Harold Shipman, he shows that madness rarely conforms to standard models. “What is Madness?” explores the idea of quiet madness – that at times many of us live interior lives that are far from sane but allow us to function normally and unthreateningly – he argues that we must seek a new way to assess, treat and deal with those suffering mental health problems. “What is Madness?” is Darian Leader’s radically insightful and masterfully convincing exploration of a painful, complex but endlessly fascinating area of humanity. “A terrific intellectual stylist”. (Joseph O’ Neill, “Guardian”). “Engrossing and enlightening…Leader is as much a philosopher as a psychoanalyst”. (“Metro”). “The mad …have been segregated and often confined; for fear, perhaps, that they will contaminate the rest of us. But as Darian Leader brilliantly shows, things are never so simple”. (Hanif Kureshi, “Independent”). “Provides valuable insights into how psychiatry can help those who have suffered psychosis to rebuild their lives”. (“Sunday Times”). “Witty, probing. A myth-busting diagnosis of the method in our madness”. (“Independent”). “Leader’s insights could have radical consequences for the way we regard madness”. (“Daily Telegraph”). “Fascinating. A formidable grasp of psychiatric history and a storyteller’s flair for detail. What Leader does so effectively is to give us a sense of what it might be like to live inside the mind of a psychotic. A humane and timely book”. (“New Statesman”). “Superb insights, brilliant”. (“Observer”). “One of our most important contemporary thinkers”. (“Guardian”). Darian Leader is a psychoanalyst practising in London and a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and of the College of Psychoanalysts – UK. He is the author of “The New Black”, “Strictly Bipolar”, “Why Do Women Write More Letters Than They Post?” , “Promises Lovers Make When It Gets Late”, “Freud’s Footnotes” and “Stealing the Mona Lisa”, and co-author, with David Corfield, of “Why Do People Get Ill?” He is Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.