Patients’ creative work and ‘expressive possibilities’¹ in New moon, under the dome, and The Hydra, 1844-1918

Turner, Emily Jessica (2020) Patients’ creative work and ‘expressive possibilities’¹ in New moon, under the dome, and The Hydra, 1844-1918. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis examines ‘patient publications’ produced at various points in the period between 1844 and 1918 within three particular mental health hospitals in England and Scotland, in order to explore how creative expression was used by staff and patients in treatment and recovery. My analysis, based upon a body of new archival research, is structured around a collection of case studies: New Moon, the journal produced by the patients at Crichton Royal Hospital at Dumfries from 1844 until 1937; Under the Dome, the patient and staff magazine of London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital published from 1892 to 1920; and The Hydra, created by patients at the Edinburgh institution, Craiglockhart War Hospital between 1917 and 1918.

By focusing on select numbers of these magazines - the first twelve issues of New Moon, the 1892 to 1903 numbers of Under the Dome, and the full catalogue of the short-lived The Hydra - in chronological order, the thesis analyses the limited runs of these magazines as diverse literary and historical objects, and explores the ways in which the titles demonstrate the development of the patient publication form.

Following archival work on a range of patient publications in the period 1837 to 1995, these three publications were selected for analysis owing to their demonstration of the diversity and development of the patient publication form. The analysis of these three publications - as distinct but thematically related literary objects, and as representational of the wider chronology of the form - provides an inquiry into both the individual journals and their roles within the ‘asylum journal’ format, and also into the format itself. The thesis aims to open up discussion of ways in which patient publications demonstrate newfound emphasis in sanatoria on creative expression in mental health care during this period. The study demonstrates ways in which individual hospital’s ‘asylum journals’, as complex products and reflections of their institutions, and the different expressions that the format has taken, variously represent ideological changes -specifically the introduction and development of moral treatment or moral therapy and its emphasis on humanitarian interactions between patient and staff - in asylum healthcare during the period.

While acknowledging the discursive impact of the mental health institution on those who created writing and visual art for these titles, this thesis aims to centralise the voices and creative expressions of the patients in its analysis of New Moon, Under the Dome, and The Hydra.

¹ Benjamin Reiss, ‘Letters from Asylumia: The “Opal” and the Cultural Work of the Lunatic Asylum, 1851-1860’, American Literary History, 16.1 (2004), 1-28 (p.3) Benjamin Reiss, ‘Letters from Asylumia: The “Opal” and the Cultural Work of the Lunatic Asylum, 1851-1860’, American Literary History, 16.1 (2004), 1-28 (p.3)

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > RC0438 Psychiatry, including Psychopathology > RC0475 Therapeutics. Psychotherapy > RC0489.A-Z Other therapies and special aspects of therapy, A-Z > RC0489.W75 Writing. Written communication including creative writing, letter writing
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/90144

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