In her study of women and the mind doctors 'Mad, Bad and Sad' and in her belle époque novel, 'Paris Requiem', Lisa Appignanesi draws on the same historical sources of inspiration. The Salpetriere Asylum in Paris, hysteria, as well as understandings of psychiatry and psychoanalysis inform her work across the genres, even her family memoir 'Losing the Dead'. In several of her works - the novel 'Where the Serpent Lives', the conservation memoir 'Tigers in Red Weather', and the poems, 'The Mara Crossing' - poet and writer, Ruth Padel also explores the same fount of material. What is it that so fascinates them about their subjects that they leave a residue to be treated in different forms of writing? And how does genre and form affect the way the 'real' is understood.
Part of a season of performances, talks, films and events accompanying the forthcoming exhibition 'Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors', 10 October 2013 - 2 February 2014.