The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in our Times (Paperback)
  • The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in our Times (Paperback)
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The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in our Times (Paperback)

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Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 05/03/2015
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The Last Asylum is Barbara Taylor's haunting memoir of her journey through the UK mental health system.

A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

SHORTLISTED FOR THE RBC TAYLOR PRIZE

In July 1988, Barbara Taylor, then an acclaimed young historian, was admitted to what had once been England's largest psychiatric institution: Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, later known as Friern Hospital.

This searingly honest, thought-provoking and beautifully written memoir is the story of the author's madness years, set inside the wider story of the death of the asylum system in the twentieth century. It is a meditation on her own experience of breakdown and healing, but also that of the millions of other people who have suffered, are suffering, will suffer mental illness.

'Personal story, psychoanalytic process, the experience of madness, the feel of being an inpatient in the last days of Friern, the history of the asylum . . . A beautiful memoir, engrossing' Independent

'Moving, brave and intelligent' Susan Hill, The Times

'Dazzling. A great achievement, full of life and hope' Sunday Telegraph

Barbara Taylor's previous books include an award-winning study of nineteenth-century socialist feminism, Eve and the New Jerusalem; an intellectual biography of the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft; and On Kindness, a defence of fellow feeling co-written with the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. She is a longstanding editor of the leading history journal, History Workshop Journal, and a director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre. She teaches History and English at Queen Mary University of London.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241951828
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 223 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Eloquent, compassionate, and utterly absorbing . . . The Last Asylum is the best sort of memoir, transcending the purely personal to confront a larger social history -- Sarah Waters
Beautiful . . . it is hard to write well enough about this book because it is so good -- Susie Orbach * Independent *
A wise, considered and timely book -- Hilary Mantel
Moving, brave and intelligent -- Susan Hill * The Times *
Superb. Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest -- Darian Leader
An impressive book, strong on narrative, deeply felt and measured in tone... The Last Asylum will stand the test of time. * Literary Review *
A gripping (often painful) account of madness, a fascinating description of psychoanalysis, a historical reflection on asylums and a meditation of the interrelationships between care and cure... Unsparing [and] subtly theoretical, an endeavor not only worth reading, but worth emulating. * LA Review of Books *
A fascinating if harrowing journey . . . Taylor is a deft and engaging historian * Washington Post *
Barbara Taylor's [memoir] is not to be missed . . . An extraordinarily measured, fascinating and honest account, that stands out within the genre... Her book can be compared with Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk . . . Barbara Taylor is to be applauded for an important and original contribution * Metapsychology *

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“The Last Asylum”

The Asylum Years is a fascinating blend of autobiography and the history of the British asylum, beginning with Barbara Taylor's very personal account of herself, before moving on to fit that self into the wider... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 42

“The Last Asylum”

I'm not a big biography reader, auto or otherwise, but I found Barbara Taylor's story compelling reading. She tells her own story with a candidness that is disarming and humbling. She also talks about the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 42

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