Madhouse, funny farm, psychiatric hospital, loony bin, nuthouse, mental institution: no matter what you call it, the asylum has a powerful hold on the American imagination. In fiction and film, they often symbolize mistreatment, fear, and imprisonment, standing as castles of despair and tyranny. Historian Troy Rondinone will be appearing at Bird in Hand in Baltimore to read from and sign copies of his new JHU Press book, Nightmare Factories, the first history of mental hospitals in American popular culture--beginning with Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 short story "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether" and including works ranging from Moby-Dick and Dracula to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Halloween, and American Horror Story. Asylums, he argues, darkly reflect cultural anxieties and the shortcomings of democracy, as well as the ongoing mistreatment of people suffering from mental illness.
This event is free and open to the public. For more details, see the event page at Bird in Hand's website.
Bird in Hand, 11 E. 33rd Street, Baltimore, MD 21218