Mindreadings: Literature and Psychiatry
What can psychiatry learn from
Literature can clarify, examine and define emotions, behaviour
and thoughts. For psychiatrists, literary texts can be valuable
tools for furthering our understanding of patients and their
conditions. This book explores the fruitful relationships between
the written word and central aspects of psychiatric practice. It
includes newly commissioned chapters plus articles originally
published in the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment
that have been reworked and updated.
- Why doctors should read fiction and the
place of literature in medical education.
- The varied genres of autobiography,
fiction, poetry and letters.
- A range of topics, including addictions,
ageing and dementia, intellectual disability and autism.
The authors explore the
description and representation of mental states, the lived
experience of distress, the character of psychiatry as a system and
the institutional practices of psychiatry.
Although written by
psychiatrists primarily for psychiatrists, this collection offers a
fascinating and accessible insight into mental illness through the
pages of novels, poetry and autobiographies to be found in any
Should be of interest to all
psychiatrists (including trainees) - especially those with an
interest in the humanities.
Femi Oyebode is Professor and Head of
Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham. He has
published widely on the relationship between literature and
psychiatry. His research interests include descriptive
psychopathology and delusional misidentification syndromes. He is
also a poet and literary critic.
Madness at the Theatre
You may also be interested in the CPD Online module:
Gender, madness and society in 20th century Britain
1. The benefits of reading
literature - Allan Beveridge
2. Roles for literature in
medical education - Martyn Evans
narrative and psychiatry - Femi Oyebode
4. Fictional narrative and
psychiatry - Femi Oyebode
5. Poetry and psychiatry -
6. Letters and psychiatry:
the case of Franz Kafka - Femi Oyebode
7. Death and dying in
literature - John Skelton
8. Literary and biographical
perspectives on substance use - Ed Day and Iain Smith
9. Dementia and literature -
Christopher A. Vassilas
10. Portrayal of
intellectual disability in fiction - Anupama Iyer
11. Autism in fiction and
autobiography - Gordon Bates
“Medical humanities and narrative-based medicine are important and
ever growing fields that the practicing psychiatrist is encouraged
to embrace. Mindreadings
explores themes as varied as how
doctors can benefit from fictional accounts of mental illness,
through what we can learn from different literary genres, to
specific topics ranging from autism to addiction.
...The language is accessible and the text very
readable...definitely rich and appealing enough to hold the
attention of any interested reader. ...An invaluable lesson and a
International Journal of Culture and Mental
"This interesting book provides abundant material to justify the
reading of fiction as part of a psychiatrist’s lifelong
learning...The authors show how literature helps us to see the
world through the eyes of other people, to interpret their personal
narrative and to enhance our sense of wonder."
British Journal of Psychiatry