The Last Asylum: A Memoir Of Madness In Our Times

Paperback | August 26, 2014

byBarbara Taylor

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 In July 1988, Canadian-born historian Barbara Taylor was admitted to Friern Hospital, a once-notorious asylum for the insane. Her journey there began when, overwhelmed by anxiety as she completed her doctoral studies in London, England, she found relief by dosing herself with alcohol and tranquillizers. She then embarked on what would turn out to be a decades-long psychoanalysis.

The analysis dredged up acutely painful memories of an unhappy and confusing childhood back in Saskatoon. As Taylor struggled to cope with these, she would twice be re-admitted to Friern. She took refuge in day-care institutions and a psychiatric hostel, all the while continuing her therapy, which eventually put her on the road to recovery.

This searingly honest, beautifully written memoir is the narrative of the author’s madness years, set inside the wider story of our treatment of psychiatric illness: from the great age of asylums to the current era of community care, ‘Big Pharma’, and quick fixes. It is a meditation on her own experience as well as that of millions of others – both in Europe and in North America – who have suffered, are suffering, and will suffer from mental illness.

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   In July 1988, Canadian-born historian Barbara Taylor was admitted to Friern Hospital, a once-notorious asylum for the insane. Her journey there began when, overwhelmed by anxiety as she completed her doctoral studies in London, England, she found relief by dosing herself with alcohol and tranquillizers. She then embarked on what wou...

Barbara Taylor is a historian whose previous books include an award-winning study of nineteenth-century socialist feminism, Eve and the New Jerusalem; an intellectual biography of the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft; and On Kindness, a defence of fellow feeling co-written with the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. She is a long-stan...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.82 inPublished:August 26, 2014Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143191594

ISBN - 13:9780143191599

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Customer Reviews of The Last Asylum: A Memoir Of Madness In Our Times

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Editorial Reviews

"Superb. Riveting, insightful, relentlessly honest." - Darian Leader"Moving, brave and intelligent." - The Times"A wise, considered and timely book." - Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies"Eloquent, compassionate, and utterly absorbing. The Last Asylum is the best sort of memoir, transcending the purely personal to confront a larger social history." - Sarah Waters, author of Fingersmith"Exquisitely written and provocative" - The Sunday Times"A great achievement, full of life and hope… dazzling." - The Sunday Telegraph