Madness in Nineteenth-Century Literature Autobiography - Essay


(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Mary Elene Wood (essay date 1994)

SOURCE: "Elizabeth Packard and Versions of Sanity," in The Writing on the Wall: Women's Autobiography and the Asylum, University of Illinois Press, 1994, pp. 25-47.

[In the following essay, Wood examines Elizabeth Packard's account of her experience in an insane asylum. In particular, Wood studies the parallels between Packard's story and both slave narratives and sentimental novels.]

In 1860, Theophilus Packard forced his wife Elizabeth from their home and committed her to the state insane asylum at Jacksonville, Illinois. According to her own account, she had long been battling with Theophilus, a Presbyterian...

(The entire section is 11153 words.)