• Agnes's Jacket: A psychologist's search for the meanings of madness

Agnes's Jacket: A psychologist's search for the meanings of madness

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ISBN 978 1 906254 45 2 (2012)
Cover Price: £18.00
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Only available to customers in the UK.

In a Victorian-era German asylum, seamstress Agnes Richter painstakingly stitched a mysterious autobiographical text into every inch of the jacket she created from her institutional uniform. Despite every attempt to silence them, hundreds of other patients have managed to get their stories out, at least in disguised form, and so it continues today. A vast gulf exists between the way medicine explains psychiatric illness and the experiences of those who suffer. Hornstein’s brilliant work helps us to bridge that gulf, guiding us through the inner lives of those diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, depression, and paranoia and emerging with nothing less than a new model for understanding so-called ‘mental illness’, one another and ourselves. One which asks not ‘what’s wrong with you’ but ‘what happened to you and how did you manage to survive?’

Gail's book provided inspiration for composer Jocelyn Pook's new work 'Hearing Voices' which premiered in London on 3rd December to great acclaim.  Click here to listen http://bbc.in/TbXS5J
Click here for a review of the piece by theartsdesk.com : http://bit.ly/12EeyWg

To read an interview with Gail Hornstein, published in July 2011, follow this link: http://www.gailhornstein.com/files/Hornstein_Sun.pdf

For more interviews, articles and resources, follow go to http://www.gailhornstein.com

New Introduction for UK Edition

1.   The Voice Hearer
2.   Beyond Belief
3.   The Network
4.   Mavericks In Maastricht
5.   Who's Crazy Now?
6.   Freedom Centre
7.   Prisoner Abuse
8.   He Might Be Houdini
9.   Field Notes
10. Peter, Who Comes From Jesus
11. Philosophy Of A Lunatic
12. Whitsbury House
13. Experts By Experience
14. Secrets And Hostages
15. Train Tracks
16. Free Speech
17. Trauma And Testimony
18. Displaced Persons
19. The Mental Market
20. Hunger Strikers
12. The Late Quartets
22. Hidden In Plain Sight
23. Visions Wrapped In Riddles
24. Written On The Body
25. The Wound Does The Healing
26. Finding What Works And What Doesn't


From trauma and recovery, spirituality and outsider art to the pernicious, profiteering influence of the pharmacological industry, Agnes's Jacket provides an enthralling, imaginative and, at times, shocking exploration into psychiatric systems past and present. Impeccably researched over the course of several years, the result is a profound, original and extremely important piece of work. Hornstein's humility, grace and wisdom and insight of the numerous people who share their personal stories with her.  As Patrick McGrath recommends it, Agnes's Jacket 'is a true literature of protest'. This book is too full of wisdom, hope and humanity to keep to yourself. Buy it, read it, absorb it, then give it to someone you really love. Eleanor Longden, reviewed in Asylum Magazine 18.2 Summer 2011.

Agnes' Jacket is a very relevant and important book … In it, Gail Hornstein explores and debunks many existing myths concerning the nature and origins of madness … A lot of her focus in the book is on the enormous amount of informal research she has done, going to … numberous meetings of the Hearing Voices Network in the UK. She gives case history after case history of people who have made much better sense of the voices they hear than the psychiatrists/psychologists who have been 'treating' them. I would definitely recommend this book to colleagues … Cordelia Galgut, BPS chartered psychologist, HCPC registered counselling psychologist, BACP senior accredited counsellor/psychotherapist

Agnes's Jacket provides a fascinating and rich resource for those seeking meanings in madness. Dr Helen Barrett, Developmental Psychologist

Gail Hornstein

Gail A. Hornstein is a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA, and author of To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World, the widely praised biography of pioneering psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. She divides her time between Holyoke and London.

Gail's website : http://www.gailhornstein.com

A dramatised song cycle by composer Jocelyn Pook was part inspired by Agnes's Jacket. Guardian article at http://bit.ly/TYHoti

Read an inspiring interview with Gail Hornstein here http://www.gailhornstein.com/files/Hornstein_Sun.pdf

Read more

Gail Hornstein