Lindsey Stewart

Open University

Project Title: Monomania: The Life and Death of a Psychiatric Idea in Victorian Fiction.

My doctorate will track the use of the term 'monomania' in Victorian psychiatric discourse, against an examination of its use in Victorian fictions. It will ask whether the interplay between 'real' or clinical narratives of monomaniacs and 'fictional' accounts offered a seamless, complicit exchange, or whether the latter departed from psychiatric discourse towards a more resistant, or even sceptical, incorporation of the pathology. It will ask whether the trend to pathologize 'monomaniacs' appears in literature as benign, whether it forms part of a wider patriarchal, epistemic grip on a new psychology, or whether literary works self-consciously write against this new interpretative language. Emergent ideas on emotion, most importantly the anticipation of the unconscious and anxieties about moral collapse and degeneration, may also have informed the literary usage of the idea.

Supervised by Dr Delia da Sousa Correa and Professor Nicola Watson.

About me

My first degree was in English at Sussex, followed by an MA in English with the OU. I worked under the Labour governments at the Foreign Office, initially as the Desk Officer for Central Asia, then as a Policy Planner. I went on to retrain as an English teacher, working in south London.

Research Interests

Please contact me at: Lindsey.Stewart@open.ac.uk