“Nightmare Factories: The Asylum in the American Imagination”
A book talk by Troy Rondinone
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 joins us to discuss 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. Don’t miss this fascinating discussion.
Reservations required. Cost: $24.00 plus surcharge and sales tax. Members contact the Hopkins Coub; non-members may attend as guests of JHU Press by contacting Jack Holmes at 410-516-6928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johns Hopkins Club