Maud Casey

City of Incurable Women
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Available February 2022 from Bellevue Literary Press

"Where are the hysterics, those magnificent women of former times?" wrote Jacques Lacan. Long history's ghosts, marginalized and dispossessed due to their gender and class, they are reimagined by Maud Casey as complex, flesh-and-blood people with stories to tell. These linked, evocative prose portraits, accompanied by period photographs and medical documents both authentic and invented, poignantly restore the humanity to the nineteenth-century female psychiatric patients confined in Paris's Salpêtrière hospital and reduced to specimens for study by the celebrated neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his male colleagues.

"In exquisite prose, Maud Casey has built a city inside a book, a city that is a hospital, a museum, a dance, a body in ecstasy just outside the frame. On every page of this achingly beautiful book, Casey brings a wise and feral attention to the so-called incurables of the 'era of soul science'—Augustine, Louise, Marie, Geneviève, and a chorus of nameless others singing their private beginnings and public ends." Danielle Dutton, author of SPRAWL and Margaret the First

"City of Incurable Women is a brilliant exploration of the type of female bodily and psychic pain once commonly diagnosed as hysteria—and the curiously hysterical response to it commonly exhibited by medical men. It is a novel of powerful originality, riveting historical interest, and haunting lyrical beauty." Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through

"I would follow Maud Casey anywhere. In City of Incurable Women, she has given us her best work yet. This is a song for the forgotten, full of voices that will stay with you and guide you—an astonishing portrayal of rage and hope. What a glorious work of art and what a true gift to us." Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters and Run Me to Earth