The madam is mad: madness as kairos, ur-time, and lesbian space in Gilman, Plath, and Millett

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joanne Galli (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Danielle Bouchard

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is tracking the evolution of psychiatric medicine and psychotherapy as they relate to women’s writings. Three genres of literature are evaluated during three chronologic time periods. The correlations to mental health care during these times are matched to written genres. The study utilizes several methodologies in approaching the literary works: queer, rhetorical, feminist, poststructuralism, and narrative theories form the majority of the critique. The multidisciplinary readings ensure a more complete appreciation for the palindromes of declamation. Madness functions as a sign and signifier of disruptive times. Madness is not representative of “crazy” or “angry.” Madness is the brief spark marking kairos, ur-time, and lesbian space within the works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sylvia Plath, and Kate Millett. I chose three middle-class white women in an effort to provide a more equal comparison. Each chapter focuses on an author and the genre utilized. Each chapter undergoes variation in the predominate methodology for critique. A very close reading allows us to ferret out the fissured spaces where madness resides. The objective exists in the ability to delve into these spaces and see how the writers generated and disrupted time. In conclusion, one may surmise a multi-disciplinary approach elucidates the importance of re/visiting these works. Through re/reading these works through multi-dimensional lenses, we gain a closer understanding of what madness lives inside various narratives and what we can learn from re/positioning ourselves within the works.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Gilman, Kairos, Lesbian, Millett, Plath, Ur-time
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, $d 1860-1935 $x Criticism and interpretation
Millett, Kate $x Criticism and interpretation
Plath, Sylvia $x Criticism and interpretation
Women $x Mental health $z United States $x History
Literature and mental illness
Mental illness in literature

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