Madness and Modernity: Mental Illness and the Visual Arts in Vienna 1900

Madness and Modernity: Mental Illness and the Visual Arts in Vienna 1900


By (author) Nicola Imrie, By (author) Luke Heighton, By (author) Sabine Wieber, Edited by Gemma Blackshaw, Edited by Leslie Topp, Edited by Geoffrey C. Howes

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  • Publisher: Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 168 pages
  • Dimensions: 222mm x 264mm x 20mm | 898g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1848220200
  • ISBN 13: 9781848220201
  • Sales rank: 1,017,579

Product description

With its focus on a specific place and time (Vienna in 1900) and on a specific theme (madness), "Madness and Modernity" sets out to explore artistic, social and psychological themes which provide insights into the madness-modernity nexus that manifested itself in Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century. The book's thematic structure draws out particular examples of the connection between madness and modernity. Designs by Otto Wagner for the Steinhof mental hospital are juxtaposed with expressionist portraits, such as those by Oskar Kokoschka, of patients who were interned there.Self-portraits by Egon Schiele are shown alongside photographs of men with neurological disorders, while art works by psychiatric patients are also reproduced. Throughout, arresting visual material substantiates the links between madness and modernity which not only characterised Viennese society at this time but touched many European communities in the early twentieth century. Including over 100 images, this groundbreaking book includes a number of short chapters which focus on specific works of particular significance. Taken in parts or as a whole, "Madness and Modernity" is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand a fascinating facet of European modernism and society.

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Author information

Dr Gemma Blackshaw is a Lecturer in History of Art and Visual Culture, University of Plymouth. She is currently co-editing a volume of essays borne out of the conference 'Journeys into Madness: Representing Mental Illness in the Arts and Sciences, 1850-1930' held in London in 2007. Dr Leslie Topp is Lecturer in History of Art and Architecture, Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of, among other titles, Architecture and truth in fin-de-siecle Vienna (2004).Nicola Imrie received her Ph.D. in History of Art from Birkbeck College in 2008. She is a member of the AHRC-funded 'Madness and Modernity' project and is a research assistant on the exhibition.Luke Heighton has recently submitted his Ph.D. thesis in History of Art at Birkbeck College. He is a member of the AHRC-funded 'Madness and Modernity' project.Sabine Wieber is a Lecturer in History of Art at Roehampton University, London, and is a member of the AHRC-funded 'Madness and Modernity' project.Geoffrey C. Howes is author of numerous articles on Austrian literature. From 2000 to 2005 he was co-editor (with J. Vansant) of the journal Modern Austrian Literature and has translated texts by Peter Rosei, Doron Rabinovici, Lilian Faschinger and others.

Table of contents

Contents: Foreword, James Peto; Introduction and acknowledgements, Gemma Blackshaw and Leslie Topp; Scrutinised bodies and lunatic utopias: Mental illness, psychiatry and the visual arts in Vienna, 1898-1914, Gemma Blackshaw and Leslie Topp; object essay: Karl Henning, Wax models of two male heads, 1897-98, Nicola Imrie; Mad modernists: imaging mental illness in Viennese portraits, Gemma Blackshaw; object essay: Gustav Jagerspacher, Portrait of Peter Altenberg, 1909, Gemma Blackshaw; Modernity follows madness? Viennese architecture for mental illness and nervous disorders, Nicola Imrie and Leslie Topp; object essay: Erwin Pendl (studio), Model of Lower Austrian Provincial Institution for the Cure and Care of the Mentally and Nervously Ill 'am Steinfhof', c.1907, Leslie Topp; object essay: Josef Karl Radler, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 1913, Luke Heighton; The allure of nerves: class, gender and neurasthenia in Klimt's society portraits, Sabine Wieber; object essay: Richard Luksch, Two faience figures for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, 1905, Sabine Wieber; Madness and literature in Vienna 1900, Geoffrey C. Howes; Checklist of exhibited works; Bibliography; Index