In this new BBC Radio 3 programme, Matthew Sweet talks to Andrew Scull, author of Madness in Civilisation, about how different cultures around the world and through time have dealt with what we might call madness, insanity or the loss of reason and how the experience, felt or observed, has been interpreted by writers and artists. They are joined by Lisa Appignanesi, author of Trials of Passion and Mad, Bad and Sad to discuss whether the west’s long-term belief that madness had its roots in the body was bad news for women.
Matthew Beaumont also presents his history of an ancient crime but one still on the statute books of Massachussetts – Night Walking. Via the pens of Samuel Johnson who blamed London’s noxious night hours on arrogant aristocrats, to William Blake’s evocations of London’s Darkness, Free Thinking hears from those who had nothing in common with their slumbering fellows and who like Charles Dickens, enjoyed a time that brought some sense of better things, else forgotten and unattainable. Alongside, Deborah Longworth with a view of the flaneuse, the female solitary ambler and a pen-portrait of Dorothy Richardson whose relationship with the city of London outweighed all other passions in her life.
To access the programme, click here.