This project investigates the surprising parallels between eighteenth-century theories of madness and theories of fiction, which both attribute their manifestations to prolific imagination. It therefore aims to expose and examine potential links between medical and literary discourse via the imagination, while also offering a counter-history of the English novel in the so-called ‘Age of Reason’. More largely, this study of mental illness, fiction, and imagination illuminates the connections between evolving concepts of the human body and the history of literary form.
Anne M. Thell is Associate Professor of English literature at National University of Singapore. Her books include Minds in Motion: Imagining Empiricism in Eighteenth-Century British Travel Literature (2017), which received “special honors” in SEL‘s annual review of new work in eighteenth-century studies, and the first critical edition of Margaret Cavendish’s Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668), which will appear in later 2019 with Broadview Press. She is also president of the Southeast Asian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SASECS).