Mary Barnes: Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness

  • Publish Date: 1972-10-13
  • Binding: Loose Leaf
  • Author: Mary Barnes;Joseph Berke

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For thirty years Mary Barnes was a schizophrenic. This is the story of her resurrection.

In 1966, Mary Barnes was a hopeless schizophrenic, and Joseph Berke was a young doctor rebelling against the restrictions of American psychiatry. This is the story of Barnes's resurrection, Berke's devotion, and the remarkable friendship that blossomed between them. With love and courage, they recount a tale of mutual dedication to healing without the use of psychoactive medication, chronicling how Barnes emerges from the turmoil of madness as a renowned painter. Her artistic development is beautifully illustrated in this volume as a visual analogy for the revolutionary psychic work in which she and Berke were engaged.

Told by Barnes and Berke together, the story overflows with poignancy, insight, and sensitivity. The power of this dual-voiced narrative becomes clear as the story progresses: from Barnes, we hear reflections on the subjective experience of madness and on the often arduous process of healing. From Berke, we see Barnes from the vantage point of a dedicated clinicianthe voice who, when Barnes risked becoming engulfed by her feelings of disorientation, would say Squeeze out your badness into me. The richness afforded by this double perspective is what makes Mary Barnes's story as compelling and enthralling as it is.

Now back in print with the addition of new epilogues by both Barnes and Berke, this edition is truly complete.

Fragmentary, onrushing, claustrophobic...A travelogue through a psychic Walpurgis Night [that] combines a personal drama of redemption from 'madness' with a profound, revolutionary statement on how a free community of souls can interact for the good of its individuals.
-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

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