A Mind Apart: Poems of Melancholy, Madness, and Addiction
J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(4):570-571 [book review]
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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From our regular book review column.
Because this piece does not have an abstract, we have provided for your benefit the first 3 sentences of the full text.
Dr Bauer’s anthology of English-language poetry, representative of “current conceptions of ‘mental illness’ (in psychiatric terms) or ‘madness’ (in cultural criticism terms)” (p xxiv) is a splendid and timely contribution to the psychiatric literature at a time when our field is suffering from a skewed and fixed descriptive perspective that fosters reductionism.
Turning to the humanities for the informative effect of viewing the multiple and unique perspectives of individuals that are expressed in poetry is an enlightening way to experience the wide spectrum of what the author refers to as the “dimensional continuum” in mental illness. This approach frames mental difficulties as being the products of interactions of varying genetically influenced temperaments and social and cultural contexts.