© 2018

Literatures of Madness

Disability Studies and Mental Health

  • Elizabeth J. Donaldson

Part of the Literary Disability Studies book series (LIDIST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Elizabeth J. Donaldson
    Pages 1-8
  3. Mad Community

  4. Mad History

  5. Mad Survival

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 235-242

About this book


Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health brings together scholars working in disability studies, mad studies, feminist theory, Indigenous studies, postcolonial theory, Jewish literature, queer studies, American studies, trauma studies, and comics to create an intersectional community of scholarship in literary disability studies of mental health. The collection contains essays on canonical authors and lesser known and sometimes forgotten writers, including Sylvia Plath, Louisa May Alcott, Hannah Weiner, Mary Jane Ward, Michelle Cliff, Lee Maracle, Joanne Greenberg, Ann Bannon, Jerry Pinto, Persimmon Blackridge, and others. The volume addresses the under-representation of madness and psychiatric disability in the field of disability studies, which traditionally focuses on physical disability, and explores the controversies and the common ground among disability studies, anti-psychiatric discourses, mad studies, graphic medicine, and health/medical humanities.


madness studies literary disability studies mental health mental illness feminist theory Indiginous studies postcolonial literature Jewish literature literary works about mental illness

Editors and affiliations

  • Elizabeth J. Donaldson
    • 1
  1. 1.New York Institute of TechnologyOld WestburyUSA

About the editors

Elizabeth J. Donaldson is Associate Professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology, where she directs the Medical Humanities program. She is co-editor of The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability (2012).

Bibliographic information


“The collection of differing viewpoints is also one of the strengths of the edited collection format, and this group of essays presents a collection of impressive range and interest. … the essays of this collection powerfully demonstrate the importance of literary and fictional models for envisioning alternatives to structures of exclusion and misunderstanding.” (Susan Anderson, H-Disability,, April, 2019)

“This groundbreaking book takes as its premise a series of commitments to bridging myriad gaps, anew. In its formulations, which critique overtly but likewise adopt necessarily the specificities of academic publication requirements, a plethora of people's divergent disability (‘crip’) identities and variegated mental health/illness (‘mad’) identities no longer need to be split (no pun, here) along an already false binary line.” (Diane R. Wiener, metapsychology online reviews,, Vol. 23 (4), January, 2019)​