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Mental Health in Literature

Literary Lunacy and Lucidity

Glen Rohrer

Publication Date - July 2005

ISBN: 9780190615826

288 pages
6 x 8.8 inches

In Stock


This engaging and provocative collection of classical and contemporary works contains poetry, plays, fiction, and autobiography. The works are excellent descriptions and examples of different forms of mental illness and serve as fascinating alternatives to case studies. The work consists of eight chapters and each chapter is a selected DSM-IV-TR category. For example, chapter 3 deals with substance-related disorders and the three works in chapter 3 all provide insight into how a substance abuse problem can affect an individual. Every selected work demonstrates a mental disorder. William Shakespeare's Hamlet illustrates the many behaviors associated with schizophrenia, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar illustrates the severe loss of interest associated with major depressive disorder, and Graham Greene's The End of the Party illustrates one person's phobia, fear of the dark. Mental Health in Literature: Literary Lunacy and Lucidity provides a vivid and human portrait of the symptoms, realities, and dark recesses of mental illness.


  • Some works will provide insights into more than one behavior or disorder. Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers is used to illustrate delirium in chapter 2, but it can also demonstrate alcohol dependence. Jack London's John Barleycorn is used to illustrate alcohol dependence in chapter 3, but it can also demonstrate narcissistic personality disorder.
  • Biographical information about each author precedes each work and provides historical context for understanding the story.
  • Discussion and clinical questions conclude each chapter.
  • Selected authors, from William Shakespeare to Susanna Kaysen, are well-known figures in history and current pop culture.

About the Author(s)

Glen Rohrer (PhD, The Ohio State University) is professor and coordinator of the MSW program and director of the substance abuse certificate program at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He brings many years of practice and administrative experience to his teaching of mental health.

Table of Contents

    1. The Problem of Assessment and Diagnosis
    2. Cognitive Disorders-Delirium, Dementia, Amnestic Disorders
    Charles Jackson, The Lost Weekend
    3. Substance-Related Disorders
    4. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
    5. Mood Disorders
    6. Anxiety Disorders
    7. Personality Disorders
    8. Disorders of Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence