Lost minds : Sedgwick, Laing and the politics of mental illness

Proctor, Hannah (2016) Lost minds : Sedgwick, Laing and the politics of mental illness. Radical Philosophy, 197. pp. 36-48.

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In Memoirs of a Revolutionary Victor Serge describes the first decade of Soviet rule as displaying 'the obscure early stages of a psychosis', the symptoms of which became increasingly pronounced as time wore on and the defeats and corpses piled ever higher. The experience of living through the twenty-year period from the October Revolution of 1917 to the Stalinist purges (which reached their apex in 1937) he declares 'must be a psychological phenomenon unique in history'. At various moments in the memoir the reader catches a glimpse of Serge's wife Liuba Russakova, formerly Lenin's stenographer, who experienced a severe mental breakdown as a result of the paranoid and persecutory atmosphere in Soviet Moscow.