Paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other mixed media forms created by the mentally ill have long been accepted as legitimate works of art in various degrees. The 20th century French painter Jean Dubuffet was an early champion of such art, extolling it under a movement known as “Art Brut”, but what about texts written by the mentally ill? Vaslav Nijinsky’s diary and Daniel Paul Schreber’s “Memoirs of My Nervous Illness” were both written when their authors were institutionalized or suffering from mental illness; yet, these two texts exist more as objects of curiosity or psychological study. By looking at these two texts, I will try to see if theories and criticism that have evaluated visual Outsider Art can also help provide a similar framework for literary Outsider Art.
|Keywords:||Outsider Art, Art Brut, Mental Illness, Vaslav Nijinsky, Daniel Paul Schreber|
Professor of Humanities, Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA