Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Allen Ginsbergs Poetry and Psychiatry Essay -- Ginsberg Mental Health
Allen Ginsberg's Poetry and Psychiatry Introduction From the 1930's to the 1960's, early attempts to combine the psychiatric goals of restoring mental health with new advances in medical science would produce tragic results for many of those who trusted modern psychiatry to provide comfort and healing. During this time, science, psychiatry, ambition, power, and politics came together to leave behind a controversial history of events that destroyed the trust and hope placed by many upon modern science and left behind a trail of scarred minds and ruined lives. When Allen Ginsberg, the famous Beat poet, attacked the American mental health care system of the 1950's in his poem, "Howl", he knew the subject well. These experiences, which he described as "memories and anecdotes and eyeballs kicks and shock of hospitals", were vivid, yet accurate descriptions of psychiatric practices of the time (Ginsberg 50). Both Ginsberg and his mother, Naomi Ginsberg, had been committed to mental hospitals. Tragically, his mother would spend her most of her final years as a resident of New Jersey's Greystone and New York's Pilgrim State mental hospitals, often heavily sedated with medication, then finally lobotomized (Asher). Lobotomies In 1936, Egas Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist, introduced the world to a radical new procedure to treat the mental illness of schizophrenia. This procedure was a surgical operation performed on the brain, called a prefrontal leucotomy and would become more commonly known as the lobotomy. The operation consisted of the insertion of a needle to perform incisions that destroyed connections between the prefrontal region and other parts of the brain. This helped to reduce incidents of the negative behavior, b... ...berg: Selected Poems, 1947-1955. Harper Collins Publishers, New York. 1996. Jansson, Bengt. Controversial Psychosurgery Resulted in a Nobel Prize. Nobel e-Museum. < http://www.nobel.se/medicine/articles/moniz/> KKMP: Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (Author Unknown). University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. 1999. Nobel E-Museum (Author Unknown). Biography of Egas Moniz. Rodgers, Joann Ellison. Psychosurgery: Damaging the brain to save the mind (excerpt). Psychology Today, March-April 1992 v25 n2. Sabbatini, Renato, M. E. The History of Psychosurgery. Shorter, Edward. A History of Psychiatry. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 1997. TDTS: The Doctors Trials Summary. United States Holocaust Museum Archives. Weinstein, Harvey M., M.D. Psychiatry and the CIA: Victims of Mind Control. American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C. 1990.