From Nebuchadnezzar to Hippocrates to the Victorian asylum: The Paris Review takes a look at mental illness and its treatments across the centuries.
“’This splendid lady sandbagged me,’ Bloom said in a recent phone conversation, with the lofty, ungrudging admiration of an old general recalling an opposite number’s surprise attack at some long-ago battle. Flummoxed, he asked if they had not made an agreement. Ozick, Bloom recollects, said, ‘When you are dealing with the devil, you must be prepared to do anything!'” This New York Times Magazine profile of Cynthia Ozick makes it clear that, at 88, she shows no signs of slowing down.
The essay is more popular than ever. At Salon, Michele Filgate talks to Leslie Jamison (author of The Empathy Exams, here’s our review) and Roxane Gay (author of the forthcoming Bad Feminist) about the power of the genre. Gay believes our interest in essays is because of a “cultural preoccupation with the exposure of the self.” They also discuss if we’re in a golden age of women essayists. “Sometimes when men write about private feeling, it’s seen as exploratory or daring, and when women write about private feeling it’s seen as limited or in the vein of a kind of circumscribed emotional writing,” Jamison says.