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Durham University

Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Subscribe to our monthly North East Literature Events newsletter and we'll keep you posted. If you are a staff member or student and want to publicise your event, contact

Twenty-Five Years of Madness and Modernism

Twenty-five years after the publication of Louis A. Sass’s major work on Madness and Modernism, a one-day symposium hosted by Hearing the Voice and the Centre for Medical Humanities will reflect on and advance his findings.

Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature and Thought is the magnum opus of the distinguished clinical psychologist and phenomenologist of psychopathology Louis A. Sass. Twenty-five years after its initial publication by Basic Books and then Harvard University Press, a revised edition, published by Oxford University Press in 2017, is introducing new readers to one of the most complex and compelling accounts of the phenomenology of schizophrenia and its reciprocally illuminating relationship with a modernism characterised by paradox and hyperreflexivity, self-consciousness and self-alienation.

A symposium to celebrate, interrogate and reflect upon the significance and wide-ranging influence of Madness and Modernism will be held at Durham University on Friday 11 May 2018.

The programme opens with Louis Sass in conversation with Patricia Waugh, modernist literary critic, intellectual historian and co-investigator on interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project.

Contributions are then invited from scholars in any discipline whose work directly engages, contributes to or complicates the arguments and approach of Madness and Modernism. If you would like to present at the symposium, please send abstracts of no more than 200 words as well as a short bio-note to the convenor, Angela Woods, by Thursday 29 March 2018. Notification of acceptance will be by Wednesday 4 April.

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