By Irina Sirotkina
The very important position of literature and the determine of the author in Russian society and heritage were widely studied, yet their position within the evolution of psychiatry is much less popular. In Diagnosing Literary Genius: A Cultural historical past of Psychiatry in Russia, 1880-1930, Irina Sirotkina explores the variations of Russian psychiatric perform via its courting to literature. in this interval, psychiatrists started to view literature as either a trademark of the nation's psychological well-being and an essential component of its health. through aligning themselves with writers, psychiatrists argued that the purpose in their technological know-how was once now not distinct to the literary venture of exploring the human soul and reflecting at the mental illnesses of the age.
Through the writing of pathographies (medical biographies), psychiatrists bolstered their social status, debated political matters less than the guise of literary feedback, and asserted ethical in addition to expert claims. via interpreting the psychiatric engagement with the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and the decadents and revolutionaries, Sirotkina presents a wealthy account of Russia's scientific and literary heritage in this turbulent progressive interval.