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LLC4040 - Writing Madness

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr. Christiane Weller


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will examine psychosis as it presents itself in writing, literary or otherwise. It will analyse and interpret

  1. the literary tradition of writing on madness (e.g. Buchner, Hoffmann, Musil, Bernhard) and
  2. texts written by psychotic patients (i.e. Schreber, texts from the Prinzhorn Collection) in light of the conceptualisation of psychosis since the 18th century. Particular attention will be paid to the theorisation of psychosis and psychotic language within the field of psychoanalysis (i.e. Freud, Lacan, Felman, Jadi).


Upon successful completion of this subject students will have aquired detailed knowledge of the primary literature ranging from literary texts of the early 19th and 20th century to non literary texts particularly of the late 19th century and early 20th century, They will have developed a good grasp of key theoretical texts reflecting the debates regarding psychosis from the late 18th century to the present and an awareness of the formative historical forces which shaped these debates. They will have improved their ability to analyse and interprete literary and non literary texts in regards to their historical context and in light of psychoanalytic concepts of psychosis, i.e. gained experience in relating isolated aesthetic phenomena to a broader historical and theoretical framework.
Students will be capable of informed discussions of the literature and theory of the 18th century to the present within their historical context and to present the results of their own research in form of a class paper and in a more detailed written essay.
Fifth year students employ a more sophisticated analysis and written presentation. They will be expected to read more widely and work at a higher level.


Essay (5000 words): 60%;
Class Paper (2000 words): 20%;
Exam (2000 words): 20%

Contact hours

2 hour seminar