A Foucauldian-Shakespearean Reading of the Twin Motifs of Love and Madness in Malcolm Bradbury’s Eating People Is Wrong

Noureddine Friji


Undertaking a careful examination of Malcolm Bradbury’s academic novel Eating People Is Wrong (1959) by drawing on Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization (1965) and on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this paper’s author argues that some individuals, capitalizing on the old-established connection between love and madness, choose to act insane to win others’ sympathy and affections and that their strategy may not always live up to their expectations. The strategy itself, it will be clear, is a reflection of their social superiors’ desire to punish or banish them, of the universal antipathy towards the mad, and of the proclivity for maltreating them. The author also aims to prove that madness is not always the inevitable result of unreciprocated love and that it may as well be brought about by a loveless life. The paper concludes that madness, be it real or sham, never ceases to preoccupy us and that no matter how hard we try to extend sympathy to the mad, they generally continue to occupy the bottom of the social hierarchy. In addition to the foregoing thematic pursuits, it is also hoped that the reader will be given a helpful insight into the academic novel subgenre, which deserves to gain more ascendancy in the literary scene.


Hamlet, Insane, Madness, Bradbury, Foucault, Psychiatrist

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.3p.73


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