We live in mad times. From the recent presidential elections in the United States and its unpredictable aftermath, the seemingly endless conflicts taking place around the world, and our fragile planet on the precipice of irreversible ecological disasters, it is pertinent to talk about madness as a state of being. Today, the digital sphere creates an instantaneous hyperconnection between anyone with access to a screen, proliferating phantasies, horrors, and propaganda that oversaturate the psyche with pre-approved ‘realities.’ With all of us experiencing this globotomy, the notion of sanity becomes blurrier and increasingly suspicious. Issue 16 Madness/La folie aims to address madness in its myriad of expressions and internalizations in an attempt to broaden discourses and facilitate productive dialogues between consumers/survivors/ex-patients, researchers, and artists. By destabilizing the binary of sane/insane through critical reflections, engrossing poetry, and transfixing artwork, readers will, it is hoped, traverse the uncanny territories of thought presented in this issue.
In “Wordsworth’s Writing Cure,” David Takamura examines the “spots of time” in an earlier version of Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem, The Prelude. This article, and its psychoanalytic reading of the poem, argues that poetic expression becomes a therapeutic “working-through” of repressed past traumas. In “Mad Grief,” Sarah Harrison inspects various forms of grief that work against traditional and diagnostic “good grief” in the characters of Obasan. Ginette Jubinville’s investigation of post-revolutionary France’s psychiatric system of Esquirol and others reveals a systemic approach to interacting and integrating the ‘alienated’ as children of society. The following articles of Agathe Martin and Benoit Bouttilier & Anamaria Fernandes provide novel and innovative interpretations and practices in and beyond the clinic, from auto-analytic testimonies to dance as therapeutic expression. The creative section of Issue 16 is rich with poetic contributions that convey subjective madness inspired by art (D. M. Spitzer), exile (Baba Badji), memory and trauma (Jessica Holmes) ex- patient experience (Crystal Hurdle), and linguistic failure (Fan Wu). Issue 16’s selected art pieces prompt the viewer with arresting depictions of the psychic links between media and mind, and explorations of cosmic phantasies.
Due to the overwhelming amount of outstanding creative submissions we received this year, we have decided to include more contributions on our website because of spatial limitations in the printed issue. We would like to encourage our readers to visit our online issue to peruse more poetry (Chelsea R. Grimmer), creative essays (Leonard Stein & Marianne Le Morvan), and a recited poem (Trihn Lo).
The composition of Issue 16 has been rewarding in as much as it has been demanding. Unassumingly taking on the shared leadership roles of co-editors-in-chief, we have faced unexpected trials and learned a great deal. We received an unprecedented amount of support from the Centre for Comparative Literature’s administrative staff and both current and former TRANSverse editors–it has been a collaborative effort. Thanks to the help of previous editors and Paula Karger’s ingenious suggestion, beginning this year all of the issues–past and future–of TRANSverse will be indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, thus affirming our integral international character. We would like to thank Dr. Jill Ross, Dr. Ann Komaromi, Bao Nguyen, Aphrodite Gardner, and the Comparative Literature Course Union for their unyielding support and encouragement. Our editorial team has done remarkable work this year, without them this issue would not have come to fruition.
Nina Youkhanna & Benjamin Bandosz