Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

History General

Mad, Bad And Sad

A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present

by (author) Lisa Appignanesi

McArthur & Company
Initial publish date
Oct 2008
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2008
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Sad, mad and bad. From the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Slyvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. From Théroigne de Méricourt, the Fury of the Gironde, who descended from the bloody triumphs of the French Revolution to untameable insanity in La Salpetrière asylum, to Mary Lamb, sister of Charles, who in the throes of a nervous breakdown turned on her mother with a kitchen knife. From Freud and Jung and the radical breakthroughs of psychoanalysis to Lacan’s construction of a modern movement and the new women-centred therapies. This is the story of how we have understood extreme states of mind over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today, when more and more of our inner life and emotions have become a matter of medics and therapists. Here too is the story of the professions that have grown up to offer treatment, and of how over the years symptoms and diagnoses have developed together to create fashions in illness.Many mental disorders – hysteria, anorexia, multiple personality, even depression – are diagnosed more frequently among women than among men. In asking why, Lisa Appignanesi brings vividly to life a series of exceptional, era-defining women and their mind doctors, and explores how women sometimes benefited from treatment, but sometimes did not, even when those giving the therapy were women too. In SAD, MAD AND BAD, Lisa Appignanesi takes us on a fascinating journey through the fragile, extraordinary human mind.

About the author

Lisa Appignanesi was born in Poland and grew up in Canada and France. A prize-winning novelist and writer, she is a former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. She is the author (with John Forrester) of the classic study Freud's Women, the Charles Taylor Prize shortlisted Losing the Dead, and the award-winning Mad, Bad, and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors. Lisa lives in London, England.

Lisa Appignanesi's profile page

Other titles by