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The Last Asylum


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This searingly honest, thought-provoking and beautifully written memoir is the story of the author's madness years, set inside the wider story of the death of the asylum system in the twentieth century.

About the Author

Barbara Taylor's previous books include an award-winning study of nineteenth-century socialist feminism, Eve and the New Jerusalem; an intellectual biography of the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft; and On Kindness, a defence of fellow feeling co-written with the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. She is a longstanding editor of the leading history journal, History Workshop Journal, and a director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre. She teaches History and English at Queen Mary University of London.


Eloquent, compassionate, and utterly absorbing . . . The Last Asylum is the best sort of memoir, transcending the purely personal to confront a larger social history -- Sarah Waters
Beautiful . . . it is hard to write well enough about this book because it is so good -- Susie Orbach * Independent *
A wise, considered and timely book -- Hilary Mantel
Moving, brave and intelligent -- Susan Hill * The Times *
Superb. Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest -- Darian Leader
An impressive book, strong on narrative, deeply felt and measured in tone... The Last Asylum will stand the test of time. * Literary Review *
A gripping (often painful) account of madness, a fascinating description of psychoanalysis, a historical reflection on asylums and a meditation of the interrelationships between care and cure... Unsparing [and] subtly theoretical, an endeavor not only worth reading, but worth emulating. * LA Review of Books *
A fascinating if harrowing journey . . . Taylor is a deft and engaging historian * Washington Post *
Barbara Taylor's [memoir] is not to be missed . . . An extraordinarily measured, fascinating and honest account, that stands out within the genre... Her book can be compared with Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk . . . Barbara Taylor is to be applauded for an important and original contribution * Metapsychology *

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