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January 25 , 2009

Journeys Into Madness

Mapping Mental Illness in the Austro-Hungarian Empire


At the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud's investigation of the mind represented a particular journey into mental illness, but it was not the only exploration of this 'territory' in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Sanatoriums were the new tourism destinations, psychiatrists were collecting art works produced by patients and writers were developing innovative literary techniques to convey a character's interior life. This collection of essays uses the framework of journeys in order to highlight the diverse artistic, cultural and medical responses to a peculiarly Viennese anxiety about the madness of modern times. The travellers of these journeys vary from patients to doctors, artists to writers, architects to composers and royalty to tourists; in engaging with their histories, the contributors reveal the different ways in which madness was experienced and represented in 'Vienna 1900'.

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