Narratives of melancholy: Sense of self in depression from asylums to neuropsychiatry

Deborah P Flynn, Salve Regina University


My research offers a critical and historical appraisal of changing notions of the self as expressed in narratives associated with “melancholia” or depressive illness. Depression has been described both as a disease and as a way of life and, at the same time as an illness and an identity. When viewed as a disease, depression is often treated as separate from the self, however those experiencing depression may not separate their moods from who they are. Engaging a selection of first-person and literary narratives that span the periods from the state hospital movement to deinstitutionalization and community mental health care, I explore the changing political and socio-cultural determinants of ideas about the self and depression as a means of critically evaluating the thinking behind current models of care.

Subject Area

Biographies|Mental health|American literature|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Flynn, Deborah P, "Narratives of melancholy: Sense of self in depression from asylums to neuropsychiatry" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3333056.

Off-Campus Salve Regina University Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server