Modernism and the machinery of madness: Psychosis, technology, and narrative worlds

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Modernism and the Machinery of Madness demonstrates the emergence of a technological form of paranoia within modernist culture which transformed much of the period's experimental fiction. Gaedtke argues that the works of writers such as Samuel Beckett, Anna Kavan, Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, Evelyn Waugh, and others respond to the collapse of categorical distinctions between human and machine. Modern British and Irish novels represent a convergence between technological models of the mind and new media that were often regarded as 'thought-influencing machines'. Gaedtke shows that this literary paranoia comes into new focus when read in light of twentieth-century memoirs of mental illness. By thinking across the discourses of experimental fiction, mental illness, psychiatry, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind, this book shows the historical and conceptual sources of this confusion as well as the narrative responses. This book contributes to the fields of modernist studies, disability studies, and medical humanities. Interprets modernist fiction in light of memoirs of mental illness, showing how memoirs of mental illness may be regarded not only as historical documents but as objects of literary analysis for scholars. It broadens the field of modernism by placing the case studies of mental patients alongside the work of canonical modernists such as Samuel Beckett and Wyndham Lewis. This book contributes to the emergent wave of disability studies and medical humanities, moving beyond many of the impasses of identity politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages254
ISBN (Electronic)9781108284035
ISBN (Print)9781108418003
StatePublished - Oct 26 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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