Agnes's Jacket A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness

ISBN-10: 1594865442

ISBN-13: 9781594865442

Edition: 2009

Authors: Gail Hornstein, Gail A. Hornstein, Gail Hornstein

List price: $25.95
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One of the most remarkable artifacts to emerge from the world of madness is the intricately embroidered jacket of a German seamstress who had been locked away in an asylum in the late 1800s. The words that Agnes Richter painstakingly stitched into nearly every inch of the garment to record her experiences have eluded scholars' many attempts to decipher them. For Gail Hornstein, the jacket is symbolic of madness itself, an experience rich with meaning, if only we can learn to unlock its code. In this luminous work, Hornstein seeks to penetrate the mysteries shrouding a condition that affects at least one in five Americans each year, nearly half of whom do not seek treatment. She takes the reader on a fascinating journey, first into the literature of madnessthe numerous personal narratives in which those who suffer try to make sense of what is happening to themand then into the support meetings of the vibrant underground network of "psychiatric survivor groups." A vast gulf exists between the way contemporary medicine views psychiatric illnessas permanent brain diseases that can be managed pharmacologically but not curedand the much more hopeful individual and collective experiences of the mentally ill themselves.Agnes's Jackethelps us bridge that gulf and come closer to a meaningful understandingnot only of madness but also the bewildering parts of our own minds.
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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Rodale Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/17/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.166
Language: English

Gail A. Hornstein is a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College and author of To Redeem One Person is to Redeem the World, the widely praised biography of pioneering psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. She divides her time between Holyoke, Massachusetts, and London.

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