From Nebuchadnezzar to Hippocrates to the Victorian asylum: The Paris Review takes a look at mental illness and its treatments across the centuries.
“As a literary symbol portraying man’s tragic nature, is any more compelling than a gun? A gun lets fear become death, quiet desperation become brutality whose fallout others are forced to deal with.” Over at The Literary Hub, a list of 10 novels that follow Chekhov‘s famous dictum, literally. Might we also suggest our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s The Singer’s Gun?
Recommended reading: on dictionary-related panics from The New Yorker. Pair with our own Bill Morris‘s Millions essay “Prescriptivists vs. Descriptivists: The Fifth Edition of The American Heritage Dictionary.”
The latest installment of #LitBeat involves musings on puritanical projection, the phrases “ass-banging” and “mucus flaps” and a least one instance of the word “boner.” Our correspondent was there for The New Inquiry read along of Millions contributor Mike Thomsen’s new book, Levitate the Primate: Handjobs, Internet Dating, and Other Issues for Men.
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.